| Ever-Ready’s Sujit Ghosh, who scored two, with Ernest Jeremiah in Barasat on Monday. Jeremiah scored the other in his team’s 3-1 victory over Mohammedan Sporting. Picture by Amit Datta
Barasat: One Ernest Jeremiah dashed Mohammedan Sporting’s hopes in the IFA Shield on Monday. He scored once and set up a couple more for Sujit Ghosh as Ever-Ready defeated Mohammedan Sporting 3-1.
The Nigerian, in his first season on the Calcutta Maidan, toyed with the Mohammedan Sporting defence, often beating them with sheer speed and skill. Once Mohammedan Sporting lost Hussain Mustafi, expected to play the role of sweeper, through injury, the floodgates opened for Ever-Ready.
“He is one of the most promising foreigners on display,” said Mohammedan Sporting technical advisor P.K. Banerjee after the match. “The defence was slow and there was no one to make up for Mustafi’s absence,” Banerjee conceded.
At the outset, though, it did not look so bleak for Mohammedan Sporting. A well-organised move culminated in Syed Rahim Nabi scoring off an Amjad Ali Khan cross in the 14th minute.
Then came the Mustafi injury. A melee involving Hussain, Eugene Gray and Amar Deb resulted in Mustafi suffering a head injury and lying unconscious on the ground. He was rushed to a local nursing home and was released a little later after regaining consciousness.
“His condition is stated to be stable but may have to be admitted to a hospital in Calcutta for further check ups,” said club secretary Sultan Ahmed.
Hussain’s departure saw Ever-Ready expose the chinks in the rival defence. Jeremiah and Gray’s searing runs down the right flank often put the defence under severe test. Madhab Das was a big flop and Syed Hussain and Khan failed to match Jeremiah’s pace.
The equaliser came in the 25th minute. Jeremiah was up the right latching on to a stray ball. He easily overcame Madhab and Hussain and as the goalkeeper came rushing out of charge, Jeremiah passed on to an unmarked Sujit to tap it in (1-1).
As Mohammedan Sporting lost control of the match and Ever-Ready piled on the pressure, the disgruntled fans vented their ire on the referee.
The Ever-Ready reserve bench also did not escape their wrath and at one stage the assistant referee on the far side felt insecure. He was forced to officiate from inside the playing arena as missiles from the stands were hurled into the ground.
Ever-Ready took the lead through Jeremiah’s superb goal in the 60th minute. The Nigerian ran a good 30 yards down the right and his dipping volley from almost zero degree landed inside the net.
The Mohammedan Sporting forwardline was reduced to a non-entity by then. Rahim Nabi was barely managing to walk and Dipendu will be best remembered for his antics. He got involved in a scuffle with rival players which threatened to blow into a major ruckus.
Jeremiah sealed Mohammedan Sporting’s fate in the 69th minute. He cut in from the right once again and as his shot bounced off a rival defender, Sujit was at hand to capitalise on the opportunity.
“This performance will be memorable but my best goal this season has been the equaliser against East Bengal in the Super Division championship leg,” said Jeremiah.
Ever-Ready: Kalyan Chowbey, Rajib Ahmed, Surajit Chakraborty, Wajed Ali, Bimal Sarkar, Jayanta Sen, Dulal Biswas Mohammed Rafique (Subhra Roy Chowdhury, 55), Eugene Gray, Ernest Jeremiah, Sujit Ghosh.
Mohammedan Sporting: Amar Deb, Amjad Ali Khan, Hussain Mustafi (Syed Hussain, 22), Habib Adekunle, Madhab Das, Momocha Singh, Bungo Singh, Shahnaz Iqbal Khan (Sheikh Sanjib, 56), John Ugwu (Abdul Rouf Khan, 46), Dipendu Biswas, Syed Rahim Nabi.
Referee: Pijush Biswas.