Two strikes from Jiten Murmu and Supriya Pandit in a gap of four minutes secured a comfortable 2-0 victory for Bhawanipore FC against Ahmedabad-based ARA FC at the Kalyani Stadium on the final matchday of the Hero I-League Qualifiers 2020 on Monday (October 19, 2020).
Bhawanipore finished their campaign with nine points from four outings, one point behind champions Mohammedan SC, whereas ARA signed off having grabbed two points from four matches.
Bhawanipore coach Sankarlal Chakraborty made as many as eight changes to his team from their heart-breaking loss against eventual champions Mohammedan Sporting on the other day. Avinabo Bag curled in a delicious looping ball to an onrushing Jitne Murmu who, having lost his marker, snuck in a low header to open the account in the 17th minute. Four minutes later, Supriya Pandit leapt above others to head an inch-perfect corner from Faisal Ali home.
ARA tried to come back into the match time and again but Prosenjit Paul, Monotosh Chakladar and Monoranjan Singh kept them at bay till the referee blew the half-time whistle.
After the resumption, ARA took only three minutes to spring into life. Youngster Pratik Swamy, who has been one of the revelations of Hero I-League Qualifiers 2020, sliced through the Bhawanipore defence from the left before pulling the trigger, only to see his effort finger-tipped by goalkeeper Suvam Sen.
Bhawanipore captain Ghanian forward Philip Adjah Tetteh had a host of opportunities to take the game away from the Gujarat-based outfit but could not make use of them. In the 50th minute, Jiten Murmu, on a terrific turn, cancelled out a couple of trailing defenders before rolling the ball towards his skipper. Subsequently, the former Neroca striker sprinted into the 18-yard-box but ballooned his shot over the woodwork.
Four minutes later, ARA, got arguable the best chance of the match but Sen’s heroic save helped the Kolkata-based team maintain the clean sheet. Nigerian striker Stanley Eze took an effort from close before Sen parried it away. On the rebound, Sourav Sharma, who came off the bench in the second half, volleyed it but Chakladar made a terrific goalline save.
ARA continued to push the local lads in their pursuit of a goal but Sankarlal Chakraborty’s boys stood tall till the final whistle.