I-league 2nd division: Mohammedan Sporting beat Jameshedpur FC 2-1
The second division of the I-league kicked off in the Barasat Stadium located on the outskirts of Kolkata today. Eighteen teams will compete in the second division this year with three groups of six teams each in the preliminary round. The top two from each of the three groups will then compete in the final round. The champions will make their ascent into the I-league top division.
Black Panthers open campaign with a win
The inaugural match was played between the historic Mohammedan Sporting Club against Jamshedpur FC's reserve side who are both in Group C.
Mohammedan Sporting won the 2018 All India Steel Express Cup in Chakradharpur, Jharkhand recently which did their confidence a world of good. The Black Panthers needed the win to overcome the bitterness of not having made it to the final round of the I-league second division last season.
Mohammedan Sporting beat the Jamshedpur outfit 2-1 to start the season on the right note. Debashish Pradhan scored for Sporting in the 36th minute and Jiten scored the second goal with a header in the 43rd minute. Vijay Kumar reduced the deficit for the visitors in the 85th minute.
Sporting took to the field without a single international player. Aser Pierrick Dipanda who was the top scorer in the Calcutta Football League was not available for the Black Panthers. Striker Manvir Singh was also not available. Coach Biswajit Bhattacharya, however, will no doubt be pleased that his side picked up full points in the first outing.
The Black Panthers will host Chennaiyin FC reserves in their next match on Saturday, March 17.
Sporting will travel to play their away match at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur on March 20. The Redminers have nicknamed the venue as "The Furnace" and will hope that the Black Panthers wilt under the heat and pressure of an away match.
For now though, with more than a one-hundred-year history behind them, Mohammedan Sporting will look to take small steps to regain lost glory. With their win today, the Black Panthers have made a small move in that direction.