Substitute goalkeeper Moniruzzaman Ansari emerged the hero for Mohammedan Sporting Club as he saved a penalty against Jamshedpur FC Reserves and ensured his team’s passage in the final of the 28th Steel Express Cup on Tuesday.
The first semi-final of the competition at Iqbal Singh Sandhu Stadium in Chakradharpur, Jharkhand saw both sides level at 0-0 at the end of 90 minutes and the match went into the penalties with Mohammedan SC winning 7-6 after Ansari blocked Jamshedpur FC’s second attempt in sudden death.
Jamshedpur FC started the match brightly and striker Srinjoy Dutta made his presence felt. However, Mohammedan SC then took over and had a few opportunities to take the lead.
Striker Mohammad Amirul scuffed a shot in front of goal in the 23rd minute. Five minutes later Jamshedpur FC defender Baset Hansdah denied Satyam Sharma the opener with a brilliant tackle.
Thereafter, both sides battled hard in the midfield, but with the game turning physical there weren’t many chances as both sides went into the breather tied at goalless.
The second-half was played at much higher intensity than the first, and both sides had some close chances with Mohammedan SC going extremely close twice in the opening fifteen minutes but was denied by poor finishing.
As the match progressed Mohammedan Sporting did all the attacking and it took everything Jamshedpur FC had left in their tank to deny the onslaught from Black Panthers. Goalkeeper Praveen also made a number of telling saves to keep his side in the contest.
At full-time with the teams deadlocked the match headed to directly to a penalty shootout where Black Panthers proved to be better shooters and prevailed 7-6.
Mohammedan SC, who have rested a number of players for this competition including skipper Philip Adjah Tetteh and Desmos Athur Kouassi, will play the winner of second semi-final between BSF Jalandhar and Football Association of Odisha (FAO) XI in the final on Friday.
(Photo courtesy: Mohammedan Sporting Club)