New professional outfit United Sikkim FC played their first friendly game yesterday against one of Kolkata's biggest clubs Mohammedan Sporting Club at the Kalyani Stadium on the outskirts of the eastern metropolis. The match ended with a 3-1 win for Mohammedan Sporting.
For United Sikkim is was important to finally get to play a match after five/six weeks of training, then nothing can prepare you better for competition then playing matches. And this was only the start as the team will be playing more matches over the coming weeks.
Coach Stanley Rozario choose to play a 4-4-2 formation and send a team onto the field which missed players like N.S. Manju (has not yet joined) plus injured captain Renedy Singh, Baichung Bhutia, Bijen Singh and Lalrinfela. This meant that United Sikkim wasn't as experienced as they will most likely be during the upcoming I-League Division 2. It was a chance to assess the teams bench strength.
The team started with Debjit in goal; V. Prem Kumar, Ichihara, Bijoy Das, Tanmoy in defence; Kalia Kulothungan and new Brazilian Beto in midfield, Beingaichho Beokhokhai on the right wing, M.D. on the left; Liberian Johnny Menyongar and Tshering upfront.
Mohammedan Sporting under Tope Fuja is quite a different side ahead of the second Division I-League, but they we given a good game by United Sikkim. In the first session both sides at times showed nervousness and lack of finishing, while it was often midfield action with Brazilian Marcos marshalling the Sporting half, while Beto and Kulothungan had their problems in closing down.
United Sikkim took the lead when Johnny worked his way past Sanjeev Maria on the left and after a scramble Beokhokhai put the ball finally in to the delight of the United Sikkim players and bench. But the joy was short lived as Mohammedan Sporting scored off a counter attack through Christopher just at the fag end of the first session.
After the break Mohammedan Sporting showed their experience as United Sikkim were put on the back foot. First they conceded a penalty which Dipendu Biswas put in and then substitute Nilendra Dewan made it 3-1 with United Sikkim unable to get back into the game with both sides having more chances to score.
After the game Stanley Rozario was happy with the first outing, but he knows that loads of work remains for him to prepare the team ahead of their first assignment in Guwahati in less then three weeks.