Calcutta, July 26: Mohammedan Sporting had promised a fresh start on the eve of their Federation Cup campaign kick-off. And they kept their promise outplaying ITI 1-0 on Saturday and moving into the last eight of the Tata Federation Cup. Bungo Singh scored the winner in the 60th minute.
However, the scoreline doesnít give a true picture of the extent of the black-and-white brigadeís domination. Had the strikers been a little more careful, Mohammedan Sporting, who have been having a bit of up and down run in the Calcutta Super League, could easily have sent in a barrage of goals. Their midfielders played a good passing game and took possession of the middle-third quite easily.
Also, Dipendu Biswas often fell back and lent an incisive edge to the game in the penetrative zone. The use of the wings was also quite impressive, with numerous crosses flowing in from both the wings.
In fact, it was a deep cross by Amjad Ali Khan in the 13th minute that provided the first opportunity for Mohammedan Sporting. Dipenduís avoided the off-side trap but his header went over the cross-piece. In spite of the number of forays, they failed to break the deadlock in the first session.
As the second session started, ITI started to take some more attacking initiative. But that left a few more gaps in their defensive organisation. Moreover, the Bangalore team didnít look too accustomed to the slushy underfoot conditions, which helped the city outfit take charge of the proceedings.
Bungo was the outstanding player for Mohammedan Sporting, working tirelessly, supplying balls to the attackers and falling back in defence as and when necessary. He had a hand in the first two openings that his side got in the second session, but ITI íkeeper Surojit Chatterjee came in the way.
But the goal he scored in the 60th minute was an absolute gem. Rahim Nabiís cross reached Bungo inside the box following a deflection from a rival defender. The medio saw that the rival íkeeper was out of his position anticipating a cross, and essayed a superb chip that flew into the net.
Mohammedan Sporting tore apart ITI in the latter stages of the match, but the strikers failed to capitalise on the chances that came their way.
Though that didnít hamper their progress to the next stage, Satish Bhartiís ouster from the pitch following a second booking in the 79th minute was a bit of a dampener. He had a good match in his new position as the blocker in the midfield and his absence will be felt when Mohammedan Sporting take on Salgaocar in the quarter final.
Mohammedan Sporting: Mohammed Rafeeq, Amjad Ali Khan, Habib Adekunle, Hossain Mustafi, Amandeep Singh, Khalid Siddiqui (Arjan Ali, 80), Bungo Singh, Rahim Nabi, Satish Bharti, Dipendu Biswas, Sheikh Sanjeeb (Trijit Das, 89).
ITI: Surojit Chatterjee, Mehraj Dinawood (Dilip, 35), Jitesh C.K., Navinder Singh, Niyaz Rahman, James Singh (Lalmuankima Ralte, 85), Jagdish Kumar, Thiyam Ragui Singh, Kutty Mani, Ashok Kumar, Ishfak Ahmed.
Referee: K. Shankar