Ali Faisal's 58th minute strike helped Mohammedan Sporting start the I-League campaign with a 1-0 win over Sudeva Delhi at the Salt Lake Stadium on Saturday. Faisal pounced on a defensive error from Sudeva's defence to slot the ball into the exposed goal.
Mohammedan's Raphael Onwrebe had the best chance of the first half when he received a precise low cross from Suraj Rawat in the 17th minute but the Nigerian failed to put the ball into the empty net.
Sudeva came out with more intent in the second half, looking for leaks in Mohammedan's defence. Ajay Singh, however, was left isolated at times playing as a lone striker upfront.
The breakthrough came much against the run of play for Mohammedan SC in the 58th minute when Ali Faisal pounced on a defensive error by the Sudeva backline and slotted it into the back of the net. The sheer power of the strike beat custodian Rakshit Dagar, despite him getting a hand on the shot.
Sudeva Delhi FC went on the offensive and searched for the equaliser, committing bodies in attack to salvage points off the match. Kean Lewis's cross in the 80th minute failed to find the head of a Sudeva player inside the box. Although half-chances came in plenty for the Delhi outfit, a clear goal-scoring opportunity failed to crop up.