NAGAON, ASSAM: Mohammedan Sporting Club played out a 1-1 draw with BSF Jalandhar in their last Group A game of the 70th Independence Day Cup at Nurul Amin Stadium in Nagaon, Assam.
Mohammedan SC, who had already secured their place in the final four, made four changes to the side that defeated Morning Star Club in the previous round.
Despite the changes, Mohammedan SC were quick to settle into their rhythm to dictate the tempo of the game. They also controlled both territory and ball possession for the majority of the game, restricting BSF to counter attacks.
Determined to finish the group stage with two wins from as many games, Raghunath Nandi’s charges pressed forward in numbers.
Their persistence paid dividends in the 15th minute when Charles Atcha headed home from close range to put Mohammedan SC ahead.
The goal stunned BSF momentarily but they did not lose hope and began attacking with intensity.
BSF pulled level in the 38th minute. As they attacked from the left, a failed clearance from the Mohammedan SC back-line allowed the ball to roll into the box and it ended up in the net after a lucky deflection from Kamal Kishore who looked in an offside position.
Hitting their opponents on the break, BSF looked well in control at times giving Mohammedan SC goalkeeper Priyant Singh his best test of the tournament so far.
Nonetheless, the Punjab outfit failed to convert as the scoreline remained one-goal-a-piece going into the breather.
Mohammedan SC maintained a total control in the second-half but they took their foot of the pedal.
BSF, on the other hand, were lively from the outset as they asserted their dominance for the majority of the half by controlling ball possession.
Jitinder Rawat and Kamal Kishore offered BSF some hope with their darting runs in Mohammedan SC’s final third but all their attempts have been stifled by the well organised Mohammedan SC defense.
Mohammedan SC did well to stay in the game and had a few chances through Charles and substitute Sujit Soren but it was the lack of finishing that let them down.
Despite creating a number of opportunities to score both sides were unable to add to the first-half tally as the game ended 1-1.
The result meant Black Panthers finish on top of Group A with 4 points from 2 games while BSF also go through to the last four with 2 points.
Mohammedan SC will take on Minerva Punjab FC in the second semifinal on October 12, 2018 at 5:15 pm.