Calcutta: Goalkeeper Mansuru Mohammed emerged hero as JCT knocked out Churchill Brothers 4-3 via sudden-death in Sundayís Tata Federation Cup pre-quarter final match at Salt Lake Stadium.
The teams were locked 0-0 after regulation and extra time and the JCT goalkeeper played a major role in ensuring that the scoresheet remained blank. Starting by brilliantly parrying an effort by Roque Perrera in the sixth minute, Mansuru came to his teamís rescue on at least four more occasions during the 120 minutes.
He also foiled Churchillís first attempt in the shootout, keeping out Osumanu Husseiniís shot. The teams converted three of their five shots in the tie-breaker before Churchillís Riston Rodrigues missed the mark in sudden-death.
Churchill was clearly the superior side, enjoying greater possession and creating more opportunities. They should have found the mark more than once in regulation time, but Sukhdev Arwade in the 74th minute and Perrera in the 90th saw their attempts being thwarted by the determined goalkeeper.
Mansuruís best came in the 112nd minute when veteran Aqueel Ansari found Roque Barreto in the clear with a clever lob from midfield. But just as Roqueís header was about to enter the goal, Mansuru leapt high and tipped it over the bar.
JCT, not very impressive and missing an injured I.M. Vijayan (his ligament injury will keep him out of the tournament), got a good chance in the fourth minute when Stephen Abarowei slotted his shot into the goalkeeper. The Nigerian veteran was not in his elements and missed his penalty in the eventual shootout.
The former National League champions from Phagwara knew they wouldnít be able to match Churchillís might and stayed behind, playing a waiting game. They crowded the defence and always looked to outnumber the Goans in the danger zone.
Joe Paul Ancheri had a good game, shouldering a lot of responsibility in midfield. He took a good amount of load and made sure that despite being cornered, JCT didnít crumble under the sustained pressure.
JCT: Mansuru Mohammed; Jagjit Randhawa, Musa Aliu, K.V. Dhanesh, Daljit Singh, Jaswinder Singh (Baldeep Singh, 102), Sukhjinder Singh (Shivraj Singh, 52), Joe Paul Ancheri, Ram Pal, Harvinder Singh (Charanjeet Singh, 75), Stephen Abarowei.
Churchill Brothers: Mark Mascarenhus; Roque Perrera, Pio Rodrigues, Osumanu Husseini, Farooque Haider (Rajesh Meetei, 42), Riston Rodrigues, Aqueel Ansari (Harvinder Singh, 117), Savio Alfonso Xavier, Roque Barreto, Sukhdev Arwade, Nitin Pradhan (Marcus Carvalho, 77).
Referee: Deepak Kumar Dey (Assam).