Sreenidi Deccan FC registered a stunning 4-3 comeback victory over Mohammedan Sporting Club in an I-League 2022-23 match at the Deccan Arena, here on Thursday.
In a thrilling encounter, Mohammedan raced into a two-goal lead through Nikola Stojanovic and Faslurahaman Methukayil but Faysal Shayesteh’s free-kick ensured that the hosts trailed by one goal at the break.
The visitors extended their advantage through SK Faiaz but a blitzkrieg of goals by Sreenidi Deccan FC late in the second half — a volley by Awal Mohammed and a brace of headers by substitute David Castaneda — completed the turnaround.
The result takes Carlos Vaz Pinto’s team to their fourth win on the trot and will infuse further confidence in the squad. On the other hand, for Mohammedan Sporting, the result will certainly be a bitter pill to swallow as they suffer their third loss of the season and snap a two-game winning streak.
The first half began with both sides exercising caution and looking to maximize possession in midfield. The hosts created the first major chance in the 10th minute through Shayesteh, who beat the goalkeeper with his shot from the edge of the penalty area, but Wayne Vaz headed it out off the goal line.
Three minutes later, Songpu Singsit latched on to a headed pass and went past the keeper with an excellent first touch. However, his shot from a narrow angle could only find the side netting.
Having missed two glorious chances, Sreenidi Deccan were made to pay as the Black and White Brigade began to push forward better and pose major threats. In the 20th minute, Methukayil found space to poke a volleyed shot that was straight at goalkeeper Aryan Lamba.
Six minutes later, the first goal of the game was scored by Nikola Stojanovic. The Serbian midfielder breezed past his marker and rifled home an unstoppable shot from 30 yards out into the top corner to give Mohammedan the lead.
With the goal, the game sparked to life as Awal Mohammed headed just over the crossbar in the 28th minute. On the other end, Kean Lewis dribbled past two defenders and played in a low cross that was inches away from being converted.
The Mohammedan winger had a key role to play in the next goal, in the 33rd minute, as his looping cross from the left flank was headed back across goal by Faiaz, and Methukayil displayed excellent sharpness to react first and tuck it into the back of the net.
Two goals behind, Sreenidi Deccan intensified their efforts to make their way back into the game. Two minutes before the end of the half, Shayesteh produced a moment of magic to half the deficit for his team just before the break. From a free-kick at the edge of the penalty box, the Afghan curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner as the scoreline read 1-2 at the break.
After the restart, the match once again reverted to a steady pace as both teams found it difficult to create any clear-cut chances. In the 66th minute though, the game once more sparked into life with three goals in a span of just five minutes. Lewis saw his curling shot punched away for a corner kick.
From the resulting set piece, Stojanovic laid the ball off to Faiaz, who spun at the edge of the box and fired a rocket of a shot that cannoned off the crossbar and crossed the goal line.
The hosts once again trailed by two goals but were quick to make their way back. Awal thumped a volley from inside the penalty area in the 69th minute, which was spilled by Mohammedan goalkeeper Sankar Roy and the ball trickled into the goal. A charged-up Sreenidi Deccan levelled the score just two minutes later, this time through Castaneda, as he headed home a free-kick taken by Shayesteh from the right flank.
The momentum was with the home side and their fourth goal of the game came in the 80th minute, giving Sreenidi Deccan the lead for the first time in the match. It was a carbon copy of the previous goal, with Shayesteh taking another free-kick from the right flank, and Castaneda beating Roy to the punch and heading the ball past him.
The visitors made a flurry of attacking changes in the end and went all in to hunt for the equaliser, coming closest through Stojanovic’s curling effort in injury time that went narrowly wide of the post. In the end, the home team defended well and ensured that they held onto their lead right till the final whistle.