Adjah's brace in Md. Sp. win

Philip Adjah Tetteh celebrating the victory at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Early this year Philip Adjah Tetteh was roaming around in Calcutta giving trials for different clubs. Minerva Punjab FC was one of the many clubs in which he was trying his luck. His dream was to play for an I-League club.

Minerva, who were in Calcutta for an I-League match, were not interested so he kept on playing small local football tournaments "for earning fast money." This season, he got selected for Srinagar-based Lonestar Kashmir FC, but the Ghanaian left for his country after running into visa problem. Then he came back and Mohammedan Sporting signed him for the last leg of the Calcutta Football League Premier Division.

On Tuesday, in front of a near-empty Salt Lake Stadium, with his team trailing 0-1 against East Bengal thanks to a Johnny Acosta goal, Adjah came off the bench in the 74th minute. He scored a brace with a swagger of a champion and walked away with all the accolades.

Mohammedan Sporting's 2-1 victory did a huge favour to Mohun Bagan. The latter, who have 23 points from nine matches, would now need three points against Calcutta Customs on Wednesday to bring home the title which they last won in 2009-10.

East Bengal's title chances on the other hand were over. They can at best get 23 points from 11 matches.

Mohammedan Sporting played like champions on Tuesday and had their players been a bit enterprising inside the East Bengal box, they would have won by a bigger margin. Dipendu Dowary missed one from close and Emeka Princewell forgot how to slot it home with only rival goalkeeper Rakshit Dagar to beat. Once though, Dagar effected a brilliant save off an Emeka attempt.

East Bengal probably played their worst match of the season till now. Nothing went right and it seemed the players were yet to recover from the Peerless SC debacle. The likes of Acosta, Mahmoud Al Amna, Kassim Aidara, Joby Justin looked like their mind was somewhere else. As if their days were numbered with East Bengal. There was no coordination amongst the players. It seemed a bunch of strangers have donned the red-and-gold jersey and taken the field.

East Bengal took the lead much against the run of play in the 11th minute. Lalrozama Fanai's corner was initially headed at goal by Laldanmawia Ralte, but Arup Debnath blocked the effort. Acosta slotted the ball home from the rebound to score his second goal for the club.

In the 87th minute, Adjah scored the equaliser. He capitalised on Laldanmawia's weak back pass, but strangely Acosta did not go for a tackle. The Costa Rican looked almost scared to thwart the Ghanaian, who dribbled past goalkeeper Dagar and hit the back of the net.

Just when it looked like the match was heading for a draw - 11th minute of injury-time - Adjah scored the winner. East Bengal were looking for the winner and Adjah made the most of it as he caught his rivals napping on the break. He dispossessed Mehtab Singh and ran through the middle of the pitch, outfoxed Dagar and slotted the ball home to give Mohammedan Sporting a memorable win.

"We were not there. It's humiliating to lose like this," coach Bastab Roy tried his best to put up a brave face.

Outside, a stony-faced Subhas Bhowmick left the stadium in his car without answering questions lobbed at him

It's not looking good in East Bengal these days.


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