Nigerian Mike Okoro gave Mohammedan Sporting their first victory over Mahindra United 1-0 in the I-League at Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Friday evening.
The solitary goal came in the 73rd minute from man-of-the-match Mike Okoro as he ran down past NP Pradeep to lob over advancing goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Choudhury.
''The win was important for us to be in the reckoning in the competition,'' the shaven headed striker said after the match.
Md Sporting coach Shabbir Ali, who was facing a near rebellion from his former skipper and regular goalkeeper Nasim Akhtar at fourth round, said the victory was a milestone in the competition.
After a poor 1-1 draw to start with against Air India, Md Sporting lost next two games against Sporting Clube de Goa(0-3) and JCT (0-2) and then drew 1-1 with Mohun Bagan.
But Friday's win helped the Kolkata's club to move up to five points. Mahindra United remained on three points with only a win against JCT.
Akhtar quit captaincy after Shabbir Ali dropped him in the Mohun Bagan match. Ali was tense all along the play as his trump card Thodore Sunday was rested today for his ankle injury he received with Deepak Mondol of Mohun Bagan.
But Okoro was the best of his touch for the day and scripted a historical triumph for Md Sporting.
As the play progressed, the rivals were evenly poised to make a breakthough. Striker Douhou was first to shot for target but that was a bit wide in the tenth minute. Twenty minutes later Okoro's shot brought off a nice save by Roy Choudhury. He also repulsed a header from Gautam Thakur, who scored his first goal against Bagan.
Sukhwinder Singh, who scored against JCT in the previous play, had made a valiant attempt but his shot was saved by Md Sporting's Thungshangtarang, who had also put up some good performance against Bagan.