| Abdulateef Seriki shoots past Vasco goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos on Wednesday
MD. SPORTING 1 VASCO 0
Calcutta: It was a do-or-die match for Mohammedan Sporting and they ‘did’ to live another day in the IFA Shield. In Wednesday’s match at Salt Lake Stadium, they beat Vasco of Goa 1-0.
The result changed equations in group B. Mohammedan Sporting must now beat Calcutta Port Trust Friday to advance to the semi-finals. A draw will help Vasco make the cut on better goal average. TFA have already qualified for the last-four as group toppers.
Abdulateef Seriki got the goal in the 63rd minute after a listless first half and his team hung on to the lead as if life depended on it. It did, to be true, and Mohammed Habeeb’s wards showed that they have picked up at least a few grains of their coach’s legendary fighting spirit.
Having lost to TFA in the earlier match, nothing but a win was to keep Mohammedan Sporting’s chances alive. Vasco, with four points from two games before this, needed just a draw. It seemed as if a draw was what Vasco were looking for, and this approach also suggested they were taking the city team for granted. The first half suggested they were dead right, as Mohammedan Sporting hardly made one right move. Things, somehow, changed after the breather.
After an insipid first 45 minutes, Mohammedan Sporting came out a transformed lot and the shortcomings in ability were covered up with the sheer will.
The goal came in the 61st minute. Syed Rahim Nabi picked up a stray clearance on the right and for once, managed to breach the off-side trap that was employed so well by Vasco till then. A one-two with Seriki followed and Nabi essayed the final pass just at the right moment.
Seriki, who also had a pretty ordinary day in office, almost made a mess of it, but so did the last Vasco defender and goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos. Despite having Seriki covered, the Vasco rearguard erred and instead of clearing the ball, they knocked it back to Seriki who slotted it in almost from the goalline.
Liberian medio Eugene Grey signed for Mohammedan Sporting after Wednesday’s match. He is likely to be fielded in Friday’s match against Calcutta Port Trust and the club secretary said his contract is for one year.
Meanwhile, the venue for Friday’s match has been shifted and it will be played at the Mohammedan Sporting ground instead of Rabindra Sarobar, as had been scheduled. Improper condition of the Rabindra Sarobar ground has caused the change in plans.
MD. SPORTING: Imran Khan; Biswanath Mondal, Insaan Ali, Hussain Mustafi, Amandeep Singh; Arunabha Sarkar (Arjan Ali, 43), Amit Das, Habib Adenkule, Syed Rahim Nabi; Dipendu Biswas, Abdulateef Seriki.
VASCO: Rogerio Ramos; Seby Dias, Sanjay Parte, Agnelo Colaco, Satish Minz; Sushant Matthew, Riston Rodriguez, Santa Singh, Samshi Reza (Agnelo Gomes, 14, Daniel Colaco, 73); Minino Fernandez, Rui Wanderley.
Referee: S. Suresh (Tamil Nadu).