GANGTOK, SIKKIM: Mohammedan Sporting Club blank Sikkim Himalayan FC 2-1 to claim the title in the 39th Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok on Tuesday.
Vanlalbiaa Chhangte (4th and 79th), who adjudged as the player of the tournament, scored twice after Sikkim Himalayan equalized through Eugene Nimako (62nd).
The Black Panthers looked dangerous from the outset and took the lead as early as the 4th minute through Vanlalbiaa, who rounded Sikkim Himalayan goalkeeper Urgen Pintso to slot from close range.
Conceding so soon rattled Sikkim Himalayan and it took a fair while for the team to settle into the game as Mohammedan SC controlled the action keeping the locals contained in their half, and making sure Urgen was kept busy.
Mohammedan SC looked a lot more comfortable in the first-half, adopting a passing game that often had Sikkim Himalayan giving chase rather than being able to control the game themselves.
There were a slew of chances for the Black Panthers but they were thwarted each time either by the penalty area management from Urgen, or their own difficulties finding the target.
That’s not to say the locals didn’t have their chances. With the large, vocal crowd behind them Sikkim Himlayan broke past the Mohammedan SC back-line on several occasions and threatened 1v1 with goalkeeper Priyant Singh, however were failed to be as lethal as they needed to be in front of goal which saw Dipendu Biswas’ charges went into the breather with a solitary goal lead.
Following the pause for half-time Sikkim Himalayan came straight out of the blocks controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Mohammedan SC pinned into their own back third.
The constant attacking by Sikkim Himalayan eventually wore down the Mohammedan SC defence to the point where a heavy touch allowed Eugene to steal possession and slot the ball past Priyant to restore the parity for the locals in the 62nd minute.
That goal was what Sikkim Himalayan needed as it gave them confidence against a side which had been running rings around them. With a couple of personnel changes, the locals started looking more and more competitive forcing Priyant and his back-line to work a little harder than they’d needed to in the first period.
The back and forth continued with Mohammedan SC slowly gaining more possession, and creating more chances as the started to dominate the midfield until eventually they got the break they were looking for when Vanlalbiaa find the net with a powerful drive at the end of a determined run and cross from the left by Tirthankar in the 79th minute.
The match started to become a little tenser as the clock counted down with Sikkim Himalayan showing great determination in their pursuit of an equalizer, while Mohammedan SC players tried to kill the game’s rhythm and they did what they needed to secure third Sikkim Governor’s Gold Cup title.