KOLKATA: Rajasthan United FC made it two wins in a row in the Hero I-League at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan here on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, after they defeated a listless Mohammedan Sporting by a solitary goal.

The scoreboard says it was 1-0 in favour of the visitors, but that actually flatters the black-and-white brigade. In reality, Rajasthan United always had the match in control and the difference between the two teams was much more than Otabek Zokirov’s solitary goal.

Not that Rajasthan United played an overwhelming game and could have won by 4-5 goals, but they soaked in the pressure whenever Mehrajuddin Wadoo’s men could build an attack. After converting everything that came their way against Sreenidi Deccan, Mohammedan Sporting somehow went back to playing that directionless game today, which has been their major undoing this season. Kean Lewis, a big hero of the last match, was a shadow of himself. So were Abiola Dauda and Mirlan Murzaev. Even the introduction of Marcus Joseph in the 60th minute did not change things.

Atai Dzumashev had yet another good match, providing the assist for Zokirov’s ninth minute goal. It was a corner from the left, delivered perfectly into the box, where Zokirov rose unchallenged to head it in through the far post.

Murzaev got a golden chance to equalise just before the breather. Dauda passed across the goal from the left of the box, and unlike a few other occasions, Murzaev did keep his powerful left-footer on target. But Rajasthan United skipper and Hero of the Match Melroy Assisi did the most heroic thing possible – cleared it off the goalline.

The ball went out for a corner and then came the only moment that could be blamed on the home team’s misfortune. Nikola Stojanovic took a perfect corner from the right that Sandip Mandi headed back toward the far post. It beat everybody but the upright.

The only other real chance for Mohammedan Sporting came in the 74th minute, when Dauda finally found space inside the Rajasthan United box to shoot at the goal but goalkeeper Vishal Joon kept that scorcher out with both hands.

From being too slow in building up attacks to easily giving possession away, Mohammedan Sporting players made every possible mistake. On the other hand, the Rajasthan United defence had a near-perfect match, evident from the fact that defender Melroy came out as the Hero of the Match. There were always enough men in front of Joon to cut shooting angles and the tackles by both Melroy and Novin Gurung were always perfectly timed. As a result, Mohammedan Sporting were reduced to going for long rangers. But they could hardly keep them on target.

The result gives Pushpender Kundu’s men even more breathing space as they moved up to the seventh spot on the Hero I-League table with 25 points from 20 matches.


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