Mohammedan sporting faced the prospect of another humiliation but escaped with a 1-2 defeat to East Bengal in the third round encounter of the ONGC 11th National Football League on Thursday.
Mohammedan Sporting ought to thank East Bengal and in particular Shylo Malsawmtluanga, for the narrow margin. Nicknamed Mama, the right-side midfielder missed three simple chances to put the match out of Mohammedan Sporting's reach. His inability to find the target allowed Subhas Bhowmick's boys to stage a temporary recovery and even equalise in a match dominated by East Bengal.
However, that is not how it always was. For sometime, Mohammedan Sporting looked more like the outfit, which had given Mahindra United a run for their money in the Federation Cup quarterfinal. The defence looked disciplined and though they rarely threatened, they didn't allow East Bengal players much space either.
Things changed after the breather by which time Mohammedan Sporting had fallen behind by a controversial goal. Left-back Debabrata Roy took a throw-in from the right which came back to him off a defender's head. Roy lobbed the ball and Ashim Biswas out-jumped Surajit Roy to head towards goal. The ball seemed to have crossed the goal-line before goalkeeper Gopal Das fisted it out. Referee K Shankar awarded the goal amid protests from Mohammedan Sporting players.
Seven minutes into the second half, Mohammedan Sporting equalised. Habibur Rehman Mondal was in the right place and at the right time to find the net off Bijen Singh cross. The goal seemed to momentarily lift Mohammedan Sporting's spirits and Bijen came within inches of giving the team the lead after goalkeeper Nassem Akhtar's weak clearance nearly fell for the Manipuri midfielder.
But as in numerous games this season, Mohammedan Sporting's defence went to sleep allowing Boniface Ambani plenty of time to control Malsawmtluanga's pass, turn and shoot home the winner in the 58th minute.
Dempo beat Sporting 3-2
Duler, Goa: A CONTROVERSIAL second half goal helped Dempo post a come-from-behind 3-2 win over Sporting Clube De Goa here on Thursday.
Sporting, who led 2-1 at half-time, scored through Joseph Pereira (11th) and Dudu Omagbemi (15th). Dempo equalised through Ranty Martins (35th) and Man-of-the-Match Roberto Mendes Da Silva (67th).
Martins again scored in the 78th minute to give Dempo all three points. Dempo have now six points from three matches while Sporting remained on one point from same number of matches.