Mohammedan Sporting win IFA Shield
Kolkata: Mohammedan Sporting came back from behind and overcame a spirited challenge from Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club to emerge winners in the penalty shootout and clinch the IFA Shield for the first time since 1971.
Playing in front of a frenzy 40,000-odd home support at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, both the teams were locked 1-1 at extra time.
Substitute goalkeeper Naseem Akhtar, who came in place of an injured Luis Barreto in the extra time in a fine move by Mohammedan Sporting coach Sanjoy Sen, thwarted Didarul Haque`s spotkick for a 4-3 win in the shootout.
Down 0-1 in the 28th minute after Sony Norde`s curling freekick, Mohammedan Sporting made a comeback at the stroke of halftime when Mehrajuddin Wadoo made it 1-1 in the 45+1st minute to spark a celebration.
Both the teams were reduced to 10 players in the 82nd minute when referee Santosh Kumar showed red cards to Luciano Sabrosa of Mohammedan Sporting and Norde of Dhanmondi who were engaged in a tussle.
Having lost Norde in the regulation, it was a big setback for Dhanmondi as Mohammedan Sporting slowly came back into the game.
Both the teams wasted opportunities in the extra time to take the match to the shootout where Khanthang Paite, Manish Maithani, Nirmal Chettri and Wadoo scored for Mohammedan while Joshimar hit the crosspiece.
For Dhanmondi, Wedson Anselme, Nasir Uddin Chowdhury, Mohammad Yasin Khan converted their chances while Ali Amisu shot away.
Required to block the shot to emerge winners, Mohammedan`s stand-in custodian Naseem did just that and denied Didarul a goal to shatter the hopes of the Bangladeshis who had come in large numbers to support the side.
Chasing history to become the first Bangladeshi club to win the 118-year-old title, Dhanmondi looked threatening with their striking trio of Emeka Darlington, Wedson Anselme and Sony Norde in fine form, while Mohammedan Sporting were let down by their disoriented attack.
Mohammedan Sporting had a chance when Manish Maithani led a solo run but his leftfooter went over the bar as it was Dhanmondi who looked more penetrating.
In a 27th minute attack, referee showed yellow card to Rakesh Masih outside the box for a bad tackle with Norde.
Norde utilised the freekick to perfection as his curled in freekick swung into the net through the first post to give the Bangladeshi side the upperhand.
Dhanmondi stormed into the final with a thumping 3-0 victory over 28-time champions East Bengal in the semis, while in the group stage they had ousted Mohun Bagan.
Mohammedan Sporting of Dhaka were the last and the only Bangladesh club to make the Shield final in 1995, which was won by East Bengal.
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