Kolkata’s Mohammedan Sporting Club qualified for the next edition of the I-League (2013-14) when they were held to a goalless draw by Kolkata’s Bhawanipore FC in their penultimate 2nd Division I-League match held in Bangalore.
After playing 9 matches and bagging 18 points, Sporting, who sit pretty at the top of the table, are back in the top tier after a gap of four years. The centenary club last played in India’s premier club competition in the 2008/09 season.
Bhawanipore – 14 points from 9 matches – stay third behind Rangdajied United who are on 16 points playing the same number of matches.
Bhawanipore will now have to win their match against Mumbai Tigers and hope that Mohammedan beat Rangdajied. A draw for the Meghalaya side will mean that the side who finishes with superior goal difference goes through, as the two cannot be separated on head-to-head count.
Coming to the match, action was mostly concentrated in the middle of the pitch as the match wore on. The opening exchanges though was end to end stuff.
Bhawanipore’s Hudson Lima Silva was everywhere in the initial exchanges. The Brazilian made early inroads inside the rival box, and one such jinking run earned Bhawanipore the first corner of the match. It was Lima who took the flag kick, his effort swerving in to kiss the horizontal on its way out for a goal kick.
Sporting had their moments too early on. Only in the 5th minute, Younes Baltham’s suave backheel set Jerry Zirsingha in the clear, but Debjit Mazumder pulled off a brilliant save to keep Jerry’s effort at bay.
Majumder and Younes was in the thick of action again minutes later, with the custodian getting the better of the striker once again with an acrobatic diving save.
A riveting contest from the first whistle, both the Kolkata outfits started creating more and more chances as the half wore on. But profligacy cost both dear. Younes and Alfred Jaryan missed couple of gilt-edged opportunities. For Bhawanipore Lima and Jose Ramires Barreto spurned a few.
The midfield battle intensified too. The purpose was evident. While a draw was enough for Sporting to confirm their berth for next season’s I-League, Bhawanipore needed to win to stay in the hunt after Rangdajied United registered a win on Wednesday.
Post the breather, the tempo seemed to die down a little. Goalmouth action dried up and the battle shifted to the middle of the pitch.
Of the few noteworthy, local lad J Prasad and Alfred of Mohammedan Sporting came close to breaking the deadlock in the dying minutes.
Both the coaches introduced fresh legs in order to change the complexion of the game. But that was not to be. The match ended goalless.
(AIFF Press Release)