After the results from the penultimate week, the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ League has transformed into a two-horse race.
Peerless SC are poised to lift their first-ever Calcutta League title, while East Bengal FC are waiting in the wings to snatch their 40th title in their centenary year.
The two teams are locked on 20 points. Their final matches will take place simultaneously on 29th September. Peerless has the advantage with their goal difference of +11; East Bengal has +7.
It could go down to the wire.
Peerless oversee the end of Rainbow to retake top spot
Peerless SC played the last match of the round at the East Bengal Ground. A win against bottom-placed Rainbow AC was the only acceptable result in their quest to be crowned the kings of Kolkata.
The nerves of the league leaders were settled in the 10th minute. Dipendu Dowary’s well-executed chip over the onrushing Rainbow AC goalkeeper eased the nerves of the Peerless contingent.
Despite their overwhelming dominance, the second goal eluded Peerless for long stretches. The Rainbow offside trap did work on multiple occasions.
In the 62nd minute, Dipendu Dowary delivered a piercing cross to Ansumana Kromah in the penalty area. The Peerless talisman took a touch and slammed the ball against the crossbar. The Peerless bench was on edge – the one-goal lead may not suffice.
In a bid for survival in the league, Rainbow AC threw their men forward. The Peerless defense had to dig deep to keep a clean sheet.
At the final whistle, the Peerless maintained their 1-0 lead to go top.However, it was the end of the road for Rainbow AC. Only a miracle will dig them out of a bottom-place finish.
Peerless will play their final match against a resurgent George Telegraph on Sunday. They will need to at least match, if not better East Bengal’s result to take home the title.
The +11 goal difference could come in handy.
East Bengal snuffs out Mohammedan’s title hopes
With the game locked at 1-1, a moment of recklessness in the 43rd minute turned the fate of the match.
Jaime Colado’s header was goal-bound and Mohammedan SC defender, Saiful Rahman, opts to punch the ball back into play. The referee flashes the red card and awards the penalty to East Bengal. Jaime Colado converted the spot-kick with ease.
Within a minute Mohammedan was a goal down and a player short: a tall task in a must-win match.
On a rainy afternoon at the Salt Lake Stadium, East Bengal had gone ahead through Pintu Mahata’s diving header in the 12th minute. In the 24th minute, Borja produced another headed goal, this time into his own net. In an evenly-matched contest, Rahman decided to play his hand.
14 minutes into the second half, Spanish substitute Marcos Espada was left completely unmarked to score a sitter to make it 3-1. Mohammedan sent in Arthur Kouassi in search of goals. The Ivorian pulled one back in the 82nd minute and hit the crosspost deep into injury time.
At the final whistle, Mohammedan’s dream was over, while East Bengal breathed a sigh of relief.
The Red & Gold Brigade will face Calcutta Customs on Sunday and aim for a big win – or hope that George Telegraph does them a favor.
CFL Premier Division A Table
For this season, the format is a league + knockout tournament. 14 teams will be divided into two groups and top three from each group will earn a direct quarter final berth. The remaining eight will then play with each other and the top two will complete the last-eight teams. The eight teams will enter the quarterfinals in the knockout stage.
|1||Bhawanipore FC (Q)||5||3||2||0||11||11||7||4|
|2||United Sports Club (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||8||5||3|
|3||BSS Sporting Club (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||10||7||3|
|7||SC East Bengal (DNP)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|1||Peerless SC (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||11||5||6|
|2||Calcutta Customs (Q)||5||3||1||1||10||10||4||6|
|3||George Telegraph SC (Q)||5||2||3||0||9||6||3||3|
|7||ATK Mohun Bagan (DNP)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
Mohammedan dared to dream with a victory over Peerless
Earlier in the week, Mohammedan Sporting had secured a 2-0 victory to leapfrog Peerless SC to the top of the table in the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ League match at the Mohammedan Grounds.
The Peerless outfit without the services of Ansumana Kromah looked wayward in their finishing in the first half.
Nine minutes into the second half, Anthony Wolfe was brought down by Kareem Omoloja inside the box, which resulted in a penalty. Jiten Murmu stepped up to take the spot-kick but his attempt sailed over the near post.
Kromah could only look on.
Seven minutes later, Omoloja made amends for his mistake with a thunderous shot from 25 yards out which beat James Kithan all ends up.
In the 66th minute, Jiten Murmu had another chance at goal, but conspired to miss from close with the goalkeeper was out of position
Mohammedan made Peerless pay in the 70th minute. Following a breakaway, Tirthankar Sarkar played a long ball Chhangte. The Mizo’s run caught the Peerless defense off guard to make it 2-0
The result had thrown the title race wide open as Mohammedan’s dream of ending a 38-year wait for the crown lived for another day.
BSS Sporting Club’s fairytale run continues
BSS Sporting Club are safe from relegation in their debut season of the Calcutta Premier Division ‘A’ League. Back-to-back wins over Aryan Club and Calcutta Customs has taken the Behala-based club’s tally to 14 points.
Against Aryan Club at Barasat Stadium, William Opuku and Daniel Addo scored for BSS, while Kourouma was the goalscorer for Aryan Club
In the fixture against Calcutta Customs, Wahidee scored a brace to help BSS overcome Eze Stanley Ifeanyi’s strike.
Mohun Bagan thump Southern Samity
Despite their slim hopes of retaining the title, the slushy conditions at the Mohun Bagan Ground did not dampen the Mariner’s spirits.
VP Suhair got the home team going when the ball fell kindly to his path following a corner, as he tapped in to give his team the lead within five minutes.
A penalty appeal and a goal was disallowed in the rest of the half, but Bagan came back in the second half. VP Suhair latched on Britto’s pass and slotted in his second goal of the day in the 64th minute.
Julen Colinas made his debut for Bagan in the second half and within 12 minutes set up a goal for Britto PM. The midfielder from Kerala added a second to his name in injury time to finish off a 4-0 rout.
The win takes Mohun Bagan to 17 points, while Southern Samity are two points above relegation.
Teams swaps places at middle and the bottom
George Telegraph leapfrogged Bhawanipore Club with a 2-0 victory. Tanmoy Ghosh and Justice Morgan were the scorers. The win takes George Telegraph to 16 points in fifth place, while Bhawanipore has lost three matches in a row to drop to sixth place with 14 points.
At the bottom of the table, Rahul Paswan scored a brace to help Kalighat Milan Sangha beat Rainbow AC 4-1. The win takes Kalighat MS to eight points, one behind Aryan Club and Southern Samity. Crucially, Kalighat MS has a match in hand over their immediate rivals.