Sporting stay on pole
Barreto ’tricks as Bhawanipore stun Mumbai Tigers
Mohammedan Sporting consolidated their position atop the standings with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Rangdajied United FC, courtesy Jerry Zersingha’s second half goal, in their I-League Second Division match at the Bangalore Football Stadium on Monday.
Zersingha’s 50th minute strike catapulted the Kolkata outfit to 10 points from four matches with one game remaining in the first phase of the final round.
Rangdajied stay on four points from as many matches failing to lift their game a notch higher after a terrific performance in their last match when they shocked the fancied Mumbai Tigers.
Tigers suffered another blow earlier in the day when Bhawanipore inflicted a 3-2 defeat on them to move to second position with eight points. Jose Barreto scored a hat-trick, scoring in the 26th, 64th and 84th minutes. Demba Dikhate (7th) and N P Pradeep (62nd) netted for Tigers, who are on six points from four matches.
Sporting’s successes in the final round matches here have been centred around the skills of their Moroccan striker Younes Baltham and Liberian midfielder Alfred K Jaryan. The duo engineer most of Sporting’s attacks and their lethal blows in crucial situations have powered the team to the top.
However, it was Zersingha’s turn to grab a share of the limelight on Monday, with a sweetly-timed lob from the right flank beating Rangdajied custodian Surjay K Pariyar.
Sporting, with momentum in their favour after the morale-boosting goal, then let go two great opportunities to double the lead.
L Zuala’s shot in the 84th minute went inches wide off the near post and then, Korean Wi Hyju, who came in as a substitute for Baltham in the 72nd minute, fired wide off a Zersingha cross in the 86th minute.
Nigerian Babatunde toiled hard for Rangdajied but couldn’t effect a breakthrough.
Tuesday’s match: Southern Samity vs Langsning FC (4 pm).