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Sporting advances

By Our Sports Reporter

KOLKATA, OCT. 5. Mohammedan Sporting became the last team to advance to the semifinals of the 110th edition of the IFA Challenge Shield Football as it beat the Bangladesh's Muktijoddha Sanshad 3-1 in the concluding group B league match here at the Salt Lake Stadium on Tuesday.

Sporting overcame a first-half goal deficit before turning the tables on the visitor with three second- session goals.

The win helped Sporting tally three points and confirm the second spot behind the group B topper, East Bengal. Sporting will now play group A topper Finance and Revenue FC of Myanmar in the first semifinal on Thursday. The second semifinal pits the two arch rivals East Bengal and Mohun Bagan the day next.

Muktijoddha wrested the initiative in the first session with pacy attacks down both the flanks. The ploy worked well for the visitor as it earned a penalty in the seventh minute. But the chance of an early lead evaporated as the Muktijoddha's Nigerian striker Dieudonne Kabwa failed to beat the Sporting custodian, Chinmoy Banerjee. The lead came 20 minutes later and this time Kabwa was on target nodding home a provision from his midfield colleague, Motiur Rehman Munna. Banerjee helped the home side retain the deficit to the minimum blocking another Kabwa attempt in the 45th minute.

Sporting was a transformed side following the change of ends as it attacked with more sharpness and purpose. The home found the equaliser in the 54th minute when Henry Chukwukeri hit the net after being released by a long through-pass by Naushad Moosa. The lead came the very next minute with Raman Vijayan finding the target, after an attempt by Amjad Hussain rebounded off the Muktijoddha custodian, Aminul Hoque, to present the Sporting captain an easy opportunity. Substitute Jiten Rai rounded off the scoring in the 74th minute, finishing with a nicely taken left-footed shot.

Live telecast on STAR

STAR Sports will telecast live the semifinals and final of the IFA Shield football tournament. The two semifinals (5.30 p.m. IST) will be held on October 7 and 8 and the final on October 10 (5.30 p.m. IST).

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