Mohammedan Sporting 1 (Mirjalol Kasimov 90+9′)
lost to
Delhi FC 3 (Alisher Kholmurodov 7′, Gwgwmsar Goyary 31, Sergio Barboza 90+8′)

AIFF Media Team

KOLKATA: A rollercoaster ride would perhaps be an appropriate way to describe the journey of Mohammedan Sporting Club in the last decade. At the end of the 2013-14 season, the Black and White Brigade were relegated from the I-League. Ten years down the line, they will say goodbye to the I-League again, but this time after clearing their path to the Indian Super League, subject to fulfilling the club licensing criteria.

What they’re living in right now is the crest of their rollercoaster ride. After spiralling into near obscurity, spending season after season labouring in the I-League 2nd Division after their relegation, the Black and White side of Kolkata will be battling among the big boys again. The three consecutive Calcutta Football League titles between 2021 and 2023, which ended their 40-year wait for local dominance, was merely a trailer for bigger things to come. And they have come now, as Mohammedan Sporting added another feather to the cap of a city which lives and breathes football.

And so, their last I-League game of the season against Delhi FC on Saturday evening was never about the result. It was only about celebrating with 25-odd thousand Mohammedan Sporting supporters at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan. Not just a celebration of Mohammedan’s title win, but also a homage to one of the most dominant I-League campaigns of all time. From start to finish, Andrey Chernyshov’s side never lowered their guard, not for a moment.

Delhi FC, however, were in no mood for all the hoo-ha. They were here to be party poopers. So, just seven minutes after providing a guard of honour to the champions, Delhi were in the lead as Alisher Kholmurodov headed in Pape Gassama’s corner with full authority to render the stadium into a pin-drop silence. It took a while for Mohammedan to wake up from their champion’s hangover – Eddie Hernández heading wide from close range before Evgenii Kozlov saw his volley held firmly by Abhishek Calvin.

Until Delhi struck their second blow. It’s a dead rubber match, but that doesn’t mean you can’t script your personal moment of glory. Doing exactly that, 18-year-old teenager Gwgwmsar Goyary scored his first-ever goal in the I-League, latching on to Bhupinder Singh’s through ball with an inch-perfect low strike before reeling away in ecstatic celebration.

Mohammedan will argue they didn’t have their first names in the line-up. There were seven changes from last Saturday’s title-clinching win in Shillong. But this game was more about a hungry Delhi side going all out and making a statement. Yes, this was the last game of our first-ever I-League campaign, and we’ve gone and humbled the champions at their home. Bhupinder Singh added another assist to his name as he cut back for Sergio Barboza to tap into the open net in the 98th minute. With the 3-1 win, Delhi FC finished their debut season in a remarkable sixth place.

The lone Mohammedan goal – a consolation solely in terms of this match – came with the last kick of the game. Mirjalol Kasimov’s thunderous left-footed strike was too hot for Calvin to handle as it hit his arm and looped over the line.

But whatever the scoreboard was going to look like, this night was only going to be about Mohammedan Sporting Club. An honour of the champions. The real party began after the full-time whistle. Dancing and drumming and cheering in the stands. On the pitch, until the champions stage was being set up, the players went on a victory lap around the stadium. Argentina, Honduras, Ghana, Russia, Uzbekistan and India – with flags from all across the world draped around their bodies, it showed that the celebrations weren’t just limited to Kolkata and India.

The largest cheer of the night was reserved for the crowning moment, as Mohammedan Sporting captains Samad Ali Mallick, Zodingliana Ralte and Joseph Adjei hoisted the coveted I-League trophy into the Kolkata sky. Now begins the next chapter in the history of this 133-year-old club.


Calcutta Football League (14 times): 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1957, 1967, 1981, 2021, 2022, 2023. (The first Indian team to win the CFL).
IFA Shield (six times): 1936, 1941, 1942, 1957, 1971, 2013.
Durand Cup (two times): 1940, 2013. (The first Indian team to win the Durand Cup).
Rovers Cup: (six times): 1940, 1956, 1959, 1980 (joint champions with East Bengal), 1984, 1987.
Federation Cup: (two times): 1983, 1984.
DCM Trophy: (four times): 1958, 1961, 1964, 1980.
Stafford Cup (four times): 1968, 1970, 1981 (Joint champions with East Bengal), 1991.
Bordoloi Trophy (six times): 1969, 1970, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991.
Independence Day Cup, Nowgong (three times): 1969, 2007, 2009.
Sait Nagjee Trophy (four times): 1971, 1984, 1989, 1992.
All India Governors Gold Cup, Sikkim (three times): 1980, 2016, 2019.
Kalinga Cup (twice): 1991, 1992.
Sri Krishna Gold Cup, Patna (four times): 1958, 1959, 1965, 1966.
Aga Khan Gold Cup, Dhaka: 1960. (The first Indian team to win a club tournament abroad).