Dauda’s hat-trick for Mohammedan Sporting highlight of penultimate day of tournament

March 11, 2023 11:20 p.m IS

New Delhi [India]11 March (ANI): In a hectic penultimate day of the 2022-23 I-League, Mohammedan Sporting put in the best performance but Aizawl FC won the most despite losing points.
The Kolkata team achieved a 5-2 victory over the wooden spoon Sudeva Delhi in the Kishore Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata. Nigerian striker Abiola Dauda’s hat-trick was the main reason for this comfortable victory. But they had to settle for eighth place in the final table as Aizawl struggled to a 2-2 draw with the other relegated team – Mumbai Kenkre FC – later on Saturday.
Thus, both Mehrajuddin Wadoo’s Mohammedan Sporting and former I-League champions Caetano Pinho finished on 26 points, but Aizawl finished seventh on a better head-to-head record. The win over Kolkata on Republic Day in Aizawl proved crucial.
This means that Aizawl will face either Gokulam Kerala FC or TRAU FC in the Super Cup qualifier on April 6th.
Real Kashmir (34 points) secured fifth place after beating Rajasthan United 1-0 at Ambedkar Stadium in New Delhi. Ernest Boateng scored the all-important goal for the Snow Leopards in the seventh minute of the game. Despite better ball possession and more chances to score, they could not increase the lead. The Gifton Noel-Williams boys now play Churchill Brothers in their other Super Cup qualifier on April 6th.
The Goan side defeated NEROCA in a grumpy match at Khuman Lampak Stadium earlier in the day.

Momo Cisse’s goal in the 22nd minute made the difference from the penalty spot. There was enough drama involved in the penalty kick. NEROCA goalkeeper Soram Porei, playing a great game, saved Cisse’s penalty, which dived to his left, but the assistant referee decided he had left his line before he should have. So it had to be repeated and Cisse didn’t make a mistake the second time.
The game heated up in the second half as frustration mounted in both ranks and players got physical. It culminated in ugly scenes after the game was over. NEROCA’s Nonganba Singh and David Simbo, as well as Churchill Brothers’ Sharif Mukhammad and Ponif Vaz, were all red-carded for a scuffle after the final whistle.
Churchill’s victory did Pushpender Kundu’s Rajasthan United good as they finished ninth ahead of NEROCA despite losing to Real Kashmir. This is also a result of head-to-head records. Rajasthan had beaten NEROCA both times this season. The Kundu men meet the Imphal side again on April 3 in the Super Cup qualifying play-off. The winners meet Sreenidi Deccan on April 5 for a place in the group stage. The Deccan Warriors will finish the league in second place regardless of Sunday’s result against Gokulam.
Sunday’s results will also decide Mohammedan Sporting’s opponents in the Super Cup qualifiers on April 5. If TRAU go down against champions RoundGlass Punjab then the Malabarians will be third and take on Wadoo’s boys even if they lose tomorrow. But if TRAU wins and the Kerala team loses points, then they will be Mohammedan’s opponents.
With Mohammedan finishing the I-League today, they could be a difficult team in the Super Cup. Dauda acted like the perfect poacher, taking advantage of all the defensive mistakes made by Sankarlal Chakraborty’s boys. He scored one goal in the first half and two in the second. Midfielder Nikola Stojanovic added to Sudeva’s misery in the 77th minute. Substitute Faisal Ali scored a few seconds before the final whistle for a five-star victory.
In the second half, Argentinian striker Alexis Gomez and midfielder R Lawmnasangzuala gave Sudeva solo efforts within four minutes of what turned out to be two consolation goals.
At the Cooperage Stadium in Mumbai, Caetano Pinhos Aizawl found it difficult against Akhil Kothari’s boys. Ranjeet Pandre put the home side ahead in the 25th minute. Aizawl was awarded a penalty just after the breather but Ramdinthara squandered it, firing straight into the hands of Kenkre goalkeeper Lovepreet Singh. Aizawl finally equalized in the 64th minute when Ramdinthara made up for the missed penalty. David Lalhlansanga made it 2-1 for the former champions with a header in the 70th minute. But Francis Nwankwo’s 88th-minute goal ended Aizawl’s hopes of a full score. (ANI)

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