Elusive win for Mohd. Sporting

KOLKATA, FEB. 26. Mohammedan Sporting notched up an elusive win, beating Indian Bank by a solitary goal, to dispel some of its relegation fears in the VIII National Football League at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Thursday.

The 13th round match between the two the bottom placed teams saw a listless exchange hardly producing the quality of soccer expected in the premier club tournament. Even the only goal of the match resulted from a disputed penalty that seemed to be awarded in haste. The referee, A.K. Ashokan of Services, apparently overlooked a dive by Mohammedan Sporting's Nigerian striker Chidi Edeh.

The host gathered three precious points, after Dipendu Biswas scored from the penalty in the 71st minute, to tally 13 points from as many matches and improve its position to the 10th spot for the first time in the 12-team tournament. On the other hand the bankmen found their misery doubled as the team conceded its 11th defeat to remain at the bottom with just two points from as many draws.

The last three rounds had been quite auspicious for Mohammedan Sporting which more than doubled its tally - it had only six points till the 10th round - collecting seven points from two wins -- over JCT Mills and Indian Bank - and a draw against Mohun Bagan.

Mohammedan Sporting efforts to score a goal were thwarted by the waywardness of its attackers - Rahim Nabi, Bhuvan Joshi and Dipendu Biswas. The bankmen also showed some alacrity in the first quarter mounting effective counterattacks but found its striker Syed Shabir Pasha struggling for the right finish despite finding two good openings on the opponent goalmouth in the sixth and 10th minutes respectively.

While there was a dearth of action on the field, the completion of the first session saw a nasty incident off it as the fourth referee, Saji Kurien of Kerala, sustained a bleeding head injury when a missile from the stands hit him when he was about to enter the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms. Kurien was seen doing his duty with a bandaged head for the rest of the match.

seemingly innocuous tackle by Indian Bank custodian Sebastian Netto inside the box drew out the dreaded decision from the referee.

The decision appeared strange as the Sporting striker, Edeh, seemed to be running after a ball going wide off the goal while Netto lunged in for a justified block. Edeh collided with the Indian Bank custodian and fell down. The referee, who did a poor supervision showing unnecessary leniency even on occasions when players of both sides traded blows, pointed to the spot. — Our Sports Reporter