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I-League: Jothi Kumar inspires Mohammedan win

First chance of the game fell to JCT striker Eduardo inside the first five minutes.

test sharma | Goal.com

Updated:February 9, 2009, 12:52 AM IST
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I-League: Jothi Kumar inspires Mohammedan win
First chance of the game fell to JCT striker Eduardo inside the first five minutes.

New Delhi: Mohammedan Sporting brought an end to their five match win less streak with a 2-0 over JCT at the Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata on Saturday largely thanks to a good performance by midfielder Jothi Kumar.

The first chance of the game fell to JCT striker Eduardo inside the first five minutes when he found himself in acres of space. But the Brazilian could only force a save off Naseem Akhtar.

That’s as good as it got for JCT as they failed to test the Mohammedan goalkeeper for the rest of the game and never looked like the team that had beaten defending champions Dempo two weeks ago.

Mohammedan were also struggling to create chances as the game was mostly being played in midfield.

The Kolkata club then tried playing the long ball more often to take advantage of Eugene Gray’s stature. That tactic nearly paid off in the 18th minute when Okoro got on the end of Gray’s flick on but the Mohammedan skipper failed to hit the target.

JCT also started playing the long ball towards their tall striker, Paul MacJames, as their midfield was unable to take control of the game and create chances.

The next meaningful action of the game occurred on the half hour mark when Paul made a good run into the box from the right hand side. But as he was about to pull the trigger, Wasim Feroz intervened with a last ditch tackle.

Anwar came closest to breaking the deadlock just before the break when he nearly put Okoro’s cross into the back of his own net.

Not surprisingly, the score read 0-0 at half time.

Mohammedan started the second session on a positive note as more and more players got forward to provide the extra man in attack.

However, like in the first half, they failed to create chances and against the run of play JCT nearly scored when after some good work by Baljit Singh Saini on the left, Eduardo took a shot from close range. However, it was blocked by Sheikh Azim.

Adebayo came close in the 61st minute with a long range attempt that clipped the top of the bar on its way out.

Mohammedan, desperate for three points, were looking the more likely side to open the scoring but the final pass and the finish were lacking. JCT were happy to sit back and defend.

Okoro was trying his best and his efforts nearly paid off in the 68th minute when his deflected shot fell kindly to Jothi Kumar, but the midfielder failed to hit the target.

It looked like Mohammedan were going to drop points yet again as coach Shabbir Ali was preparing to bring on Satyajit Bose.

But just as he was about to make the change, Mohammedan scored through Jothi Kumar. This was after Suraj Mondal had picked up a good through ball from Gurpreet Singh on the right side and sent in a low cross to the far post from where it was impossible for Jothi to miss.

It was Jothi Kumar’s first league goal of the season and he couldn’t have wished for a better time to score.

JCT could have equalised immediately when Jagpreet Singh found himself in a good position but his shot was blocked by Gurpreet.

The way Mohammedan had defended in previous matches, a second goal was necessary to make sure they get all three points and that’s what they got six minutes later.

Jothi Kumar ran at the JCT defence and after he went past Anwar, Julius brought him down inside the box, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot.

Captain Mike Okoro kept his calm and converted the spot kick to give Mohammedan a two goal lead for the first time in this campaign.

Mohammedan could have had another penalty when Okoro was tripped by Julius but the referee wasn’t too keen to give two penalties in one game.

In the end, Mohammedan held on to secure three valuable points, which move them out of the relegation zone at the expense of Chirag United due to a superior goal difference.

Goalscorers: Jothi Kumar 73', Mike Okoro (pen) 79'

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