Durand Cup 2022: Late goal earns Bengaluru FC a point against Mohammedan SC; NEUFC beat Sudeva Delhi
Bengaluru FC left it late to rescue a point in their final Group A match of the Durand Cup 2022 against Mohammedan SC at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata on Friday.
The draw meant the Blues finished second in their Group behind their opponents on the day in Group A and will face Odisha FC in the quarter-finals.
It was an even start to the game and it was Bengaluru FC who created the first chance of the match in the 12th minute when Aleksander Jovanovic send a header looping over the goal after the Mohammedan SC goalkeeper had punched a cross straight to Jovanovic.
However, Mohammedan went on to open the scoring at the other end after a fine counter-attacking move ended with Pritam Singh tapping home a loose ball in the box after Bengaluru FC goalkeeper Lara Sharma parried a shot into his path.
The Blues took a while to recover from the setback but found their rhythm closer to half-time and should have gone into the break on level terms when Roy Krishna fired over from close range after being fed by Hira Mondal with a pinpoint cross.
Mohammedan SC went into the break with their noses in front but with a lot of work to do.
Bengaluru FC pushed for an equaliser but it left spaces behind for Mohammedan to exploit and the Blues had goalkeeper Sharma to thank for keeping his team in the game as he saved well from Abhishek Halder.
However, Halder was sent off in the 73rd minute for a second bookable offence as Mohammedan SC were reduced to ten men.
The Blues pushed hard for an equaliser with numerical advantage and Sivasakthi came close in the 86th minute when he got into a promising position but could only find the side netting.
Sivasakthi though made amends in first minute of stoppage time when his shot on the turn richocheted off the crossbar to cross the line and bring the Blues level.
Bengaluru FC pushed for a winner but Mohammedan SC held on for the draw and secure top spot in Group A.
NorthEast United FC end with a win
NorthEast United FC found the winning formula in their final match of the Durand Cup campaign against Sudeva Delhi FC as they emerged victorious in a 2-0 win at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Friday.
A tap-in goal from Dipu (64’) followed by an injury time penalty strike from Gani Nigam (90+6’) gave the Highlanders their sole victory in the competition as they finished fourth in the points table.
Sudeva Delhi FC had a golden opportunity to score the opening goal at the outset through a rapid counter attack, but the attacker failed to convert a simple one-on-one situation as he tried to square it off only to be denied by the goalkeeper. .
The Highlanders were an improved attacking force in the game but were let down by their poor finishing.
Sandeep had a massive chance to put his side through the line after receiving a beautiful diagonal pass inside the box but the forward’s shot was denied by the goalkeeper.
The battle for the opener ensued in the second half, with both teams showing a positive attacking intent, but the scoreboard didn’t see any change.
In the 61st minute, Sudeva Delhi FC missed a major chance to break the deadlock as Sridhar struck a volley but his shot flew above the bar after Akbar set him up inside the box.
Three minutes later, Jithin MS got past his defender with some silky moves on the left flank to find Dipu down the middle, with the latter firing it past the goalkeeper to hand his side the lead over Sudeva Delhi FC.
Then, Dipu had almost scored the second for his side but the attacker missed a sitter after being set up in the same position as the previous goal, only to miss the goal this time as his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Gani Nigam assured his side a forthright victory as he made it two in the dying minutes of the game, netting a goal from a penalty after Dipu’s pacey run beyond the box was clamped down by the Sudeva Delhi FC keeper Sachin and the referee awarded a penalty.
Ending their Durand Cup campaign with a comfortable victory, the Highlanders displaced Sudeva Delhi FC at the bottom of the table and rank fourth in the table with 3 points, a point more than the I-League side.