New Delhi: A new-look Mohammedan Sporting have begun their season in style as they beat another Kolkata outfit Kalighat Milaan Sangha 3-1 to reach the semi-final of the 126th Durand Cup Football tournament here on Saturday.
Mohammedan Sporting will meet Mumbai Tigers in the semi-final. Tigers thrashed Bhaichung Bhutia-owned Sikkim United 6-2 in another match.
Having won their first group league by 4-2 margin against the Army Green, the black-and-white brigade overcame a spirited challenge from a 10-man Kalighat MS with striker Ajay Singh (16th, 62nd minute) scoring twice and Penn Orji rounding off the tally with a 77th minute strike in a group III encounter.
For Kalighat MS, Nigerian Charles had pulled one back in the 30th minute.
Sporting opened the account in the 16th minute when left wing back Colin Abranches overlapped down wide left and sent a cross which was tapped home beating an onrushing Kalighat goalie Suvam Sen.
Within 14 minutes, Kalighat MS levelled the proceedings as Nigerian Charles headed home a corner taken by Supriya Bhakta. The ball hit the horizontal before crossing the goalline.
Sporting missed a spot-kick during the end of the first-half when Penn was wrongfully tackled inside the penalty box by Charles and referee Srikanth pointed at the dreaded spot. Penn`s feeble attempt was thwarted by custodian Sen. But kalighat`s woes didn`t end there as Charles against fouled Penn to receive marching orders after being shown second yellow card.
Sporting finally got the lead in the 62nd minute when right winger Khantang Paite raced down the right flank to deliver a nice cross which was headed home by Singh.
Penn, who was a livewire in the midfield finally made amends for his missed penalty, as his powerful drive found the back of the net.
In the other match of the day, striker Bikash Jairu pimped in four goals including a hat-trick as Bimal Ghosh coached Tigers managed to breeze past the minnows from Sikkim with ease.