The Black Panthers consolidated their place at the top and are now two points clear.

Mohammedan SC pipped Kenkre FC 1-0 to clinch the top spot in the table in the I-League 2021-22 at the Naihati stadium on Monday.

After suffering the first loss of their campaign against Churchill Brothers, Mohammedan SC struck back against the bottom of the table side Kenkre FC. Andrey Chernyshov’s side is now two points clear of second-placed Gokulam Kerala with fifteen points although the latter does have a game-in-hand.

Kenkre Football Club has had a terrible start to its campaign but looked solid against Mohammedan SC for most parts. The recently promoted team’s tough start to their I-League journey continued as now they have lost four out of their five games.

Mohammedan SC kicked off the game in a positive manner as they pressed Kenkre high up. The young Kenkre side looked up for the task as they defended valiantly and tried to create chances of their own. Mohammedan got a free kick in the 12th minute in a dangerous position. Captain Nikola Stojanović’s thunderous shot was saved by Kenkre FC goalkeeper Padam Chettri to prevent his side from going behind.

The Black and White Brigade were being patient with their build-up, kept possession, and created chances regularly. Kenkre FC on the other hand were defending with passion and were able to keep Mohammedan at arm’s length.

The table-toppers started asserting their dominance and kept pressing Kenkre. The pressure resulted in Mohammedan SC getting a free-kick and a corner in the 33rd and 38th minute. Mohammedan SC kept threatening the Kenkre FC goal and almost scored in the 40th minute as Faisal Ali’s beautiful curling left-footed shot went just wide of the post.

Mohammedan SC looked in a hurry to score right from the start of the second half, they tried to penetrate the defence of Kenkre in the opening few minutes. Kenkre grew into the half as they controlled the midfield for a brief period after the initial waves of the Mohammedan attack.

Mohammedan had another chance to score the first goal as they got a free kick in a decent position on the 60th-minute mark. Padam Chhetri had to stretch a bit to save a powerful shot and deny the goal. Mohammedan SC kept pilling on Kenkre FC as they came close to scoring in the 63rd minute. Faisal Ali floated a beautiful ball in from the right-hand side but Brandon Vanlalremdika’s scuffed shot went just inches past the post.

Kenkre FC finally gave in to the barrage of Mohammedan attacks in the 72nd minute. Marcus Joseph headed in an inch-perfect delivery from the left-hand side by Manoj Mohammad to make it open scoring. Kenkre tried to create a late surge but weren’t able to create clear goal-scoring chances as the referee blew the final whistle. Marcus Joseph was awarded Hero of the Match for his decisive goal which took his tally to nine goals this season.

Kenkre FC faces Rajasthan United FC in their next game meanwhile, Mohammedan SC have a mouth-watering clash against second-placed Gokulam Kerala up next.

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