Mohammedan steals victory in NFL opener

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Mohammedan Sporting beat JCT 2-1 in the inaugural match of the 11th National Football League in New Delhi on Friday.

updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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New Delhi:

Habibur Rahman Mondal struck in the dying minutes to snatch a 2-1 victory for Mohammedan Sporting against a superior JCT side in the inaugural match of the 11th National Football League in New Delhi on Friday. Goals from Kulothungon (67th minute) and Mondal (89th) cancelled out the solitary strike from Renedy Singh (29th) to start Mohammedan's campaign with three points at Ambedkar Stadium. JCT had only themselves to blame as they dominated the encounter for large periods, especially in the first half, but had only one goal to show for their efforts. The team from Punjab were on the offensive from the beginning and came close in the sixth minute when Nigerian Adebayo Adewusi's header off a Renedy Singh free-kick came back of the crossbar. JCT were denied once again in the 15th minute when the impressive Sunil Chetri created space for himself at the edge of the box but his powerful strike was tipped on to the crossbar by Mohammedan custodian Gopal Das. From the resulting corner taken by Renedy, captain Chidi Edeh rose high but directed his header just wide. But JCT took a deserved lead near the half-hour mark. When Chetri was fouled outside the penalty area on the left flank by A S Feroze, Renedy stepped up and sent a beautifully curled shot into the top corner evading Gopal Das, who was leaning towards the centre expecting a cross. Mohammedan coach Subhash Bhowmik sensed that his team was struggling andd took off the inexperienced defender Shyam Mondal to bring on Surojit Bose.