| Port Trust’s Srimanta Das (left) and Pradip Indu, who scored at the Salt Lake Stadium Thursday to sink Mohammedan Sporting. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: Eight days after making a scratchy start to their CFL Super Division campaign, Mohammedan Sporting surpassed themselves at the Salt Lake Stadium Thursday. The consequences were disastrous: a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Calcutta Port Trust (CPT).
Pradip Indu’s 43rd-minute strike put Mohammedan Sporting in arrears. Syed Rahim Nabi, looking hopelessly out of sorts for most of the game, restored parity with a smart header nine minutes after change of ends. CPT regained the lead soon after, Srimanta Das heading in off an Amar Pyne corner-kick.
But for the second part of the opening session, it was Mohammedan Sporting who looked the lightweight team. CPT made the more incisive forays, thanks to the enterprise shown by Kaushik Prasad, Shubho Kumar and Pyne. Biswajit Bhattacharya’s boys could have won by a bigger margin had Indu not muffed the two chances.
Twenty minutes into the match on a sunny afternoon, there was not a move worth mentioning on either side. Then Mohammedan Sporting got busy as Khaled Siddiqui — by far their most impressive player in both matches — and Bungo Singh came up with some constructive play in the middle of the park.
But with Dipendu Biswas and Nabi once again forgetting to put their shooting boots on, the black-and-white brigade couldn’t make its dominance count. Nabi once stroked the ball wide from sniffing distance of CPT custodian Sandip Guha. On another occasion, he failed to get a touch two yards from the goal with Guha out of position. He also made a mess with an attempted half-volley from inside the penalty box.
Once Bungo was taken off — rather surprisingly — after 28 minutes, Mohammedan Sporting were left depending too much on Siddiqui.
Siddiqui, a prized recruit from Mahindra, produced three thunderous drives any of which could have gone in.
Satish Bharti and Hussain Mustafi, the experienced central defenders, had their ‘slips’ as well, one of which cost Mohammedan Sporting dear. Sandip Saha’s floater from the right caught Mustafi static while Bharti slipped. Indu had no problems slotting in the ball past Bivash.
There was an element of human folly in the second goal Mohammedan Sporting conceded, too. Bivash left charge to intercept a routine Pyne corner but checked himself in the middle of his path. The confused defence hadn’t noticed side-back Srimanta who headed in without a care in the world.
Habeeb was disappointed but hoped his players would take a lesson from this defeat. “This is just the start of the season… it happens. We have to fight back,” said the coach who, along with club officials, gave the players a dressing-down before facing the media.
Calcutta Port Trust: Sandip Guha, Srimanta Das, Rabi Karmakar, Madhusudan Majumdar, Tapan Das, Kaushik Prasad, Sanjit Saha, Shubho Kumar, Amar Pyne (Sujit Dey, 65), Sandip Saha (Bijay Pal, 59), Pradip Indu.
Mohammedan Sporting: Bivash Ghosh, Amjad Ali Khan, Hussain Mustafi, Satish Bharti, Madhab Das, Bungo Singh (Akbar Singh, 28), Habib Adekunle, Khaled Siddiqui, Sheik Sanjib (Trijit Das, 75), Syed Rahim Nabi, Dipendu Biswas (Tarif Ahmed, 64).
Referee: Subrata Das.