Mohammedan Sporting Club edged past Minerva Punjab FC 2-1 in the second semifinal to book their place into the final of the 70th Independence Day Cup in Nagaon, Assam.
Ghanaian goalmachine Phillip Adjah (44th and 61st) scores twice for Black Panthers while Atinder Mani (79th) pulled a goal back for Minerva at Nurul Amin Stadium on Friday.
Mohammedan SC dominated first-half ball possession, but did not do much to threaten the opposition goal, while Minerva, who were pressed back for the majority of the half, did well to absorb the pressure and looked dangerous on the few times they attacked.
The first-half was characterized by a lack of goal scoring opportunities from both sides. In the infant stages of the game, Mohammedan SC had shown promise with some impressive passes, but when they resorted to long balls, Minerva dealt with them with confidence.
However, the Black Panthers were rewarded for their persistent efforts as Adjah ran on to a pass from Prosenjit Chakraborty and rifled a right-foot shot past goalkeeper Bhaskar Roy in the 44th minute to give his side the lead going into the breather.
Mohammedan Sporting goalkeeper Priyant Singh was a spectator in the first-half, but he saw more action in the second, keeping out an angled drive from William Opoku before twice having to punch away an awkward aerial ball in the 54th minute as Minerva began to put more pressure on the Mohammedan SC defence looking for the equaliser.
On the other hand, Black Panthers, as the half progressed, started to find their rhythm putting Minerva under a sustained period of pressure and after several near misses Adjah put the finishing touch on an organised advance from the team.
Meanwhile, Minerva did not lose hope as they kept attacking with intensity and pulled a goal back through Atinder Mani in the 79th minute.
The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Minerva showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan SC remained solid at the back.
Minerva, to their credit, never gave up but it appeared as if getting on the score sheet just wasn’t to be for the side today with every shot went anywhere but on target as Mohammedan SC held on on for a well-deserved win.
Mohammedan Sporting will now take on BSF Jalandhar in the final tomorrow at 6 pm.
(Mohammedan Sporting Club)