New Delhi, Nov. 1 (PTI): Mohammedan Sporting escaped with a 1-1 draw in their Durand Cup group-league opener here on Saturday. In the other match, JCT beat Army XI 2-1.
The Calcutta giants were on the backfoot straightaway, conceding a goal in the fifth minute. K. Paite’s flag-kick reached an unmarked Vimal Pariyar who beat Bivash Ghosh easily.
After Dipendu Biswas and Chidi Edeh missed a couple of opportunities, TFA’s Vanlal Rova came close to making it 2-0, but was thwarted in time by the Mohammedan Sporting defenders. Pariyar also missed from close.
In the second session, Mohammedan Sporting came back all guns blazing and their efforts bore fruit when Edeh scored the equaliser in the 47th minute. Bungo Singh initiated the move and Edeh’s first-time volley found the left corner of the net.
Sumit Thapa, coming in place of Pariyar, came close to giving TFA the lead, but Bivash rose to the occasion to deny his long-ranger from entering the net.
JCT, sans I.M. Vijayan, found the going tough against Army XI in the first session.
But four minutes into the second half, Harbinder Singh put JCT ahead with a fine strike. Jo Paul Ancheri, who joined the team on Saturday after finishing his commitments for the Indian team in the Afro-Asian Games, converted a spot-kick in the 89th minute to make it 2-0.
The armymen also forced a spot-kick almost immediately and Raghu Kumar made no mistake from the spot.
Mohun Bagan pull out
A Staff Reporter in Calcutta adds: Mohun Bagan have decided to not play the tournament. They were dilly-dallying on this decision for a long time, and Saturday, following the return of coach Aloke Mukherjee from the Afro-Asian Games, the decision was finalised.
The decision was taken not only because top goalkeeper Prasanta Dora and medio Basudeb Mondal will be not there (having to play for their bank employees, but “because it wasn’t a fit enough team to play and energy must be conserved for the ensuing National League.”
The green-and-maroon brigade will be replaced by Air India in group D.