KALYANI / KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting began their Hero I-League Qualifiers 2020 campaign with a last-gasp 1-0 victory against Garhwal FC as full-back Munmun Lugun scored a long-range goal in the penultimate (90+3′) minute to win the match for his team at the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday.
The match seemed to be veering to a goalless draw, with Mohammedan’s Willis Plaza missing a penalty in the second half. However, Munmun came to the rescue in the dying moments to snatch a dramatic victory and begin his side’s campaign with three points.
The Black Panthers dominated possession throughout the first 45 minutes but were unable to find the breakthrough, with Garhwal creating chances on the counter attack and goalkeeper Sayak Barai looking confident in his handling.
Four minutes of added time was announced and just as the match looked to be headed to a draw, Munmun Lugun secured the three points for Mohammedan with a goal worthy of winning any match. 30 yards away from goal and in the third minute of added time, he struck a powerful, dipping shot with his left foot that left the keeper with no chance and sent his teammates and bench into wild celebrations.
Earlier at the VYBK, Bhawanipore FC put on a masterclass in counter-attacking football as they registered a 2-0 win over an industrious FC Bengaluru United.
FC Bengaluru continued to press for the opener but much against the run of play, Bhawanipore broke the deadlock in the final minute of the first-half added time. Ghanian forward Philip Adjah was sent through on goal and his shot was only parried onto the feet of an onrushing Pankaj Moula, who was at hand to tap in the rebound.
With Bengaluru committing men forward, Bhawanipore doubled their lead in the 60th minute with a lightning-quick counter-attack. Altamash Sayed picked up the ball just outside his penalty box and played a long ball in search of Adjah. The Ghanian kept Bengaluru skipper Rana Gharami at bay and then thumped a powerful volley right across the face of goal, leaving the keeper no chance as the ball bounced in off the far post.
Both sides will be in action on the next matchday (October 11, 2020), with Mohammedan Sporting taking on the team from Gujarat — ARA FC at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata and Garhwal playing FC Bengaluru United, who began their campaign with a loss to Bhawanipore FC, at the Kalyani Stadium. (AIFF Media)