KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club failed to garner three vital points in their race to the Calcutta Football League title as Calcutta Customs held them for a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.
The Black Panthers took a first half lead through their Cameroonian ace Aser Pierrick Dipanda Dicka (45th minute) only for Dhiman Sinha to restore the parity for Customs in the 56th minute.
Going into the game, Mohammedan SC coach Biswajit Bhattacharya made the only change to the side that beat Peerless SC, by handing start to goalkeeper Sankar Roy in place of a sick Rashid Nalakath, while Manvir Singh, who recently came back from the National duty started at bench and came in as a 39th minute substitute.
The match at Barasat Stadium began with two minutes of silence observed in memory of late Mohammedan SC President Sultan Ahmed, who passed away yesterday.
Mohammedan SC exerted pressure right from the start while Customs took time to settle. Nevertheless, Customs had a clear look at the Mohammedan SC goal in the 19th minute as Ujjal Hauladar leaped high to meet Amit Roy’s cross but the former Mohun Bagan midfielder’s header moved over the cross bar.
The Black Panthers, on the other hand, were creating some fantastic openings but their attackers ran short of ideas on reaching the Customs territory.
Having created some half chances till the half hour mark, Mohammedan SC almost took the lead in the 31st minute when Dipanda found himself clear inside the box. The move began with medio Kalu Ogba finding winger Dipendu Dowary clear on the right who cut back outside the box to Dipanda. The striker beat his marker to get into the box but fired inches wide from close range.
The constant pressure by Mohammedan SC paid off as they finally broke the deadlock through Dipanda whose outrageous piece of skill provoked Customs defender John Ampong into committing a foul just outside the box and Dipanda made no mistake in slotting the ball from subsequent free-kick to give his side a 1-0 lead at half time.
The change of ends brought a change in fortune for Customs as Dhiman rifled home the rebound in the 56th minute after Sankar had denied Rajon Barman.
The goal inspired Customs to get even more offensive in their approach and they nearly took the lead in the 62nd minute when Sanchayan Samaddar failed to keep his header low after receiving a cross from Ujjal.
Mohammedan SC though created many chances but failed to regain the lead, as they failed to stick to their passing game policy. The players seemed to be more keen on playing direct football sending long balls from the centre-line.
The Black Panthers had a golden opportunity to surge ahead when Jiten Murmu got into a good position but he held the ball little too long to ultimately make a mess out of the situation.
Mohammedan SC battled hard towards the end looking for a winner, but Customs managed to hold on defending deep as the game ended 1-1.