I-League 2021-22 | Mohammedan SC overtakes Real Kashmir to take the lead

Mohammedan Sporting Club returned to winning ways and also climbed to the top of the table after a comfortable 3-1 win over Real Kashmir here at Kalyani Stadium. A goal from Andelo Rudovic and a brace from SK Faiaz saw Mohammedan finish the game with three crucial points.

Real Kashmir were reduced to 9 men when Pratesh Shirodkar and striker Lalchawnkima were sent off in the second half. In the first half, Nikola Stojanovic ensured his team started with the front foot by playing a delicious long ball from midfield directly into the box towards the forwards. However, the players weren’t able to put the finishing touches on it.

The moment was forgotten soon after as Andelo Rudovic opened the scoring for Mohammedan in the twelfth minute. Marcus Joseph played a brilliant defensive pass as Rudovic kept his run under control to stay in play after which the Bosnian neatly slotted the ball past the keeper.

Mohammedan received a knock when Milan Singh fell and had to be stretched in the eighteenth minute and was replaced by Phrangki Buam.

After losing a goal, Real Kashmir were on the attack and were desperate to equalise. Mason Robertson tried his luck from distance but couldn’t challenge goalkeeper Mithun Samanta with his strike. Moments later Shimray Thomyo found himself with the ball just outside the box but the striker’s tame effort was easily caught by the keeper.

Bernard Kouassi continued to squirm in the Mohammedan defense but saw his efforts stall. Another chance came to Thomyo but this time Wayne Vaz stopped the striker with a well-timed challenge in the box.

Towards the end of the first half, Mohammedan nearly doubled his lead by breaking the block and Joseph slid the ball towards Rudovic. The ball was intercepted by Ponif Vaz, who almost put the ball in the back of his own goal.

A controversial moment came in the second half when the Real Kashmir players circled the referee to demand a penalty. The ball had come out of Wayne Vaz’s thigh and hit his arm, but the referee didn’t point the spot, leaving the Real Kashmir players furious at the decision.

Tempers died down moments later when Real Kashmir netted a much-needed equalizer through Lalchhawnkima. The defender was the first to leap up and tap into an incredible Ragav Gupta cross.

Real Kashmir’s joy and relief was short-lived as Pratesh Shirodkar received a second yellow just moments after the equaliser.

At ten men, Real Kashmir were rocked and things went from bad to worse for them just six minutes later when SK Faiaz restored Mohammedan’s lead in the game. A sublime 1-2 between Joseph and Rudovic saw the latter unmarked with the ball on the left flank. The Bosnian fired a low cross across the face of the goal and Faiaz tapped it to the far post.

Moments later, Mohammedan suffered another injury blow when Shaher Shaheen fell and had to be stretched. Despite this, Mohammedan was comfortable on the pitch.

The game was halted in the 89th minute when Faiaz doubled his score on the night by cutting in from the left and seeing his deflected shot fly into the goal. To add to the horrors of Real Kashmir, their striker Lalchhawnkima was booked for a foul and given a second yellow for sarcastically applauding the booking.

The crucial victory for Mohammedan takes them to the top of the league after playing one game more than second-placed Gokulam Kerala FC, who are only one point behind. Real Kashmir remain eighth, needing only a miracle to climb to last place in the Championship play-offs.

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