| Salgaocar goalkeeper Rajat Ghosh Dastidar foils Mohammedan Sporting striker Chidi Edeh’s effort during their Durand Cup quarter final league tie in New Delhi on Wednesday. Picture by Rajesh Kumar
New Delhi: A lethargic, disjointed Mohammedan Sporting crashed out of the 116th Durand Cup when they went down 0-2 to Salgaocar in a Group C quarter final league match here Wednesday. While the Calcutta giants finish with one point, Salgaocar topped the group with six.
In the semi-final on Friday, Salgaocar take on Mahindra United, who moved into last four following a goalless draw against JCT. Both JCT and Mahindra United finished on four points, but Mahindra qualified with a better goal difference.
Mohammedan Sporting coach Shankar Maitra claimed that several of his players were down with stomach upset, making things difficult for them. The Durand committee, however, is stung by the allegations about the quality of food supplied to the team. They have decided that from next year, Mohammedan Sporting will be paid a lump sum so that they can arrange for their own food.
Mohammedan Sporting could not avail the services of ’keeper Bivash Ghosh and defender Satish Bharati (knee injury) while Syed Rahim Nabi, recovering from viral fever, looked out of sorts.
The black-and-white brigade flattered to deceive in the initial half hour. John Ugwo put striker Chidi Edeh through but the latter delayed and got dispossessed. In the 34th minute, Edeh’s firm shot was parried by Salgaocar custodian Rajat Ghosh Dastidar. A lurking Dipendu Biswas got the ball in the open, but blazed over the cross-piece from close.
From then on, Salgaocar took control. Their nippy midfield combination of the Goa side used the width of the field effectively in setting up attacks.
Persistent pressure finally bore fruit when Salgaocar got ahead in the 59th minute. A Tomba Singh flag-kick was partially headed away by right back Amjad Ali Khan and midfielder Dharamjit Singh trapped and scored with a rising right-footer from the edge of the box.
In the 74th minute, Tomba sent a low cross from the right and striker Felix Ibrebru scored with a rising angular right-footer.
Salgaocar: Rajat Ghosh Dastidar, Mickey Fernandez, Prashant Jaggi, Roberto Fernandez, Bello Rasaq, Tomba Singh, Climax Lawrence (Bernard Pires 77), Jatin Bisht (Ragui Singh 84), Dharamjit Singh, Freddy Mascarenhas (Samson Singh 73), Felix Ibrebru.
Mohammedan Sporting: Gumpe Rime, Amjad Ali Khan, Hussain Mustafi, Madhav Das, Amandeep Singh, Abdul Rauf Khan (Zaheer Abbas 72), John Ugwo, Syed Rahim Nabi (Shahnawz Iqbal Khan 46), Dipendu Biswas, Chidi Edeh.
Referee: S.M. Balu (Karantaka)
Realising that draw will suffice, Mahindra United’s wily British coach David Booth planned his team’s strategy well for their crucial Group A match against JCT. He played with a packed defence and achieved his objective.
Both Sanjay Parte on the right and Khalid Jameel in the centre were used as defensive midfielders. The other defenders also curbed their attacking instincts and Mahindra’s approach play was workmanlike.
In the 10th minute, Mahindra missed an opportunity when Parte’s cross from the right was headed over by Abhishek Yadav.
Just after the half-hour mark, Vijayan and Harbinder Singh split the Mahindra defence with a series of wall passes, but the latter delayed and’keeper Kalyan Chowbey deflected the ball away.
In the closing stages, JCT needing a win, pushed men forward and Vijayan came close to putting his team ahead. In the 67th minute, his crisp angular right-footer off a Tomba Singh cross was partially saved. Just before the end, Vijayan’s free-kick from outside the box blazed over the cross-piece.
Thursday’s fixtures: Air India vs Vasco; East Bengal vs Dempo.