Suraj Rawat’s stunning long-range strike in the injury time gave Mohammedan Sporting a 2-1 win over Chennai City FC at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kalyani on Tuesday. (More Football News)
Ranjeet Pandre’s 19th minute strike was cancelled by Sujit Sadhu’s 54th minute header after Tarif Akhand was sent off in the 49th minute, but Rawat’s majestic strike proved to be the difference between the two teams in the end.
The Black Panthers, despite dominating possession, failed to make the most of their chances and suffered a jolt early on due to a defensive that resulted in a goal. They gifted Chennai City a goal in the 19th minute.
Defender Kingsley Eze failed to make a routine clearance after a whipped-in cross from Jishnu Balakrishnan awkwardly bounced for him. The cross fell delightfully for Ranjeet Pandre, who slotted home from close range to give Chennai the lead.
Mohammedan, however, regrouped in the 28th minute and new signing Pedro Manzi set up Faisal Ali inside the box. An onrushing Ali, however, could only shoot wide of the goal.
But the best chance of the first half for Mohammedan came in the 40th minute when John Chidi combined with Pedro Manzi inside the box. But Chidi's final effort lacked precision as it rattled the post and went out.
Chennai City were dealt a heavy blow in the early minutes of the second half when defender Tarif Akhand was shown a second yellow card after handling the ball. Reduced to ten men, Chennai City FC committed bodies in defence to safeguard their lead.
The Black Panthers equalized in the 55th minute after Sujit Sadhu found the back of the net with a thumping header off a corner kick.
It could have been two goals in as many minutes had Pedro Manzi not skewed his chance wide of goal after he was put on to goal and had just opposition goalkeeper to beat.
Chennai City had a glorious chance to score in the 84th minute after a low cross from the left found Vineeth Kumar inside the box. After setting himself up with a good touch, Vineeth shot over the bar from handshaking distance.
But, there was another twist left in the tale. In the stoppage time, Rawat, a former Indian Arrows player, smashed home from a distance off an assist from Tirthankar Sarkar to hand Mohammedan Sporting all three points.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine