Mohammedan Sporting club kick-started their Durand Cup campaign with an inspiring 4-1 win over Indian Army at the Salt Lake Stadium, on Sunday, after a glittering opening ceremony. Goals each from Milan Singh, Arijeet Singh and Azharuddin Mallick in the first half were enough to seal the deal.
After an initial thrust from the Indian Air Force team, Mohammedan Sporting Club swayed the game in their favour and took total control. The constant pressure from the Kolkata-based side finally reaped dividends in the 17th minute as central midfielder Milan Singh’s 17th-minute long ranger fooled the Air Force goalie and pierced through the net. It took another 14 minutes for the Black Panthers to double the lead as Arijeet Singh found himself on the score-sheet with a simple tap-in, following an assist from winger Sheikh Faiaz.
While the Indian Air Force were expecting to go into the break without conceding a third, Mohammedan Sporting had other plans. Serbian playmaker Nikola Stojanovic dribbled past a couple of players at the heart of the midfield and charged down the right-wing before releasing it to Azharuddin Mallick, who was left unguarded in front of goal. The forward chipped the ball over the keeper to make it 3-0 just before the half-time whistle.
In spite of the setback, the Indian Air Force started the second half with a bang, as substitute Saurav Sadhukan netted from an inch-perfect free-kick to pull one back. The Indian Army created a few goal-scoring opportunities in the second half, but their strikers lacked the accuracy to cause any real trouble. Nikalo Stojanovic, who had a phenomenal game, added another assist to his name in the 77th minute as the Serbian produced an inch-perfect cross, from the right, towards Marcus Joseph.
The attacker made no mistake and found the net to make it 4-1 in favour of the century-old club for a bright start to their campaign. Mohammedan Sporting Club will be up against CRPC in their second group stage match at the Kalyani Stadium, on September 10.