Calcutta: United Sikkim FC goalkeeper Dibyendu Sarkar denied Mohammedan Sporting a victory in their IFA Shield encounter at the Barasat Stadium, on Thursday.
The youngster from Kestopur, who trains under Debashish Mukherjee, denied Mohammedan Sporting a goal on at least three occasions. The match ended 1-1.
Rakesh Masih had put Mohammedan Sporting ahead in the eighth minute but USFC equalised two minutes later through O. Somide Adelja.
Masih’s header put Mohammedan Sporting ahead, following an Ishfaq Ahmed corner, which was routed through Sandeep Sangha. But USFC was quick to utilise a lapse in the Mohammedan Sporting defence. Jeh Williams’ shot had ricocheted off a defender and an unmarked Adelja showed his opportunistic skills as he pounced on the chance.
Thereafter, it turned out to be a battle between the Mohammedan Sporting forwardline and the USFC goalie Dibyendu. If Mohammedan Sporting lacked variation in their attack in the first half, they showed much improvement in the second session creating several opportunities.
With Ashim Biswas showing urgency in the left flank, Syed Rahim Nabi and Masih were at hand to make the most of it. If Nabi shot wide at the start of the second half, Ashim was no better as he failed to place past Dibyendu from handshaking distance. In between, Manish Maithani’s shot was saved by a diving Dibyendu.
Mohammedan Sporting coach Sanjay Sen had decided to stick to an all-Indian line-up except for the last few minutes when Joshimar da Silva came in as a substitute. Joshimar’s left-footer from close, minutes after coming in, was blocked almost on the goalline by Dibyendu.
USFC also had their moments. They started off with Adelja and Williams up front, relying mostly on counter attacks. Sanjay Chettri’s shot missed the target by a whisker in the closing stages and Mayal Dok Lepcha failed to connect with only the Mohammedan Sporting goalkeeper at his mercy.
Still USFC coach was happy with the team’s showing. “The performance has been satisfying, but we need to work hard,” said coach S. Ekendra Singh. “Mohammedan Sporting showed superiority but we too had our moments.”
Ekendra was happy for Dibyendu. The goalkeeper’s performance is sure to earn him a contract with USFC in the remainder of the I-League.
Mohammedan Sporting: Luis Xavier Baretto, R. Dhanrajan, Sandeep Sangha, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Nirmal Chettri, Antony Soren, Ishfaq Ahmed (Israil Gurung, 70), Manish Maithani, Rakesh Masih, Rahim Nabi, Ashim Biswas (Joshimar da Silva, 85).
United Sikkim FC: Dibyendu Sarkar, Amritpal Singh, Mayal Dok Lepcha (Jiten Rai, 65), James Singh, Sahensha Ansari, Sanjay Chettri, Sur Kumar Singh, Nganingmi Shimrah (Nim Tshering Lepcha, 58), O.Somide Adelja, Sukhwinder Singh, Jeh Williams (Atinder Mani, 72).
Referee: Subrata Barman.
MoM: Dibyendu Sarkar.