Mohammedan survived anxious moments in the second half to edge out Vasco by a solitary goal win to keep their hopes alive to save relegation in the 19th round of the ONGC I-League, played at Nehru stadium in Margao on Saturday.
The all-important goal was scored by Suraj Mondal in the 18th minute when he headed home a well directed cross from Mike Okoro off a move from the right by Roque Barreto.
The win takes Mohammedan to 19 points from 19 matches to stay above JCT (18 points) in the 10th position. While Vasco's fate of relegation is confirmed after today's defeat as they remained at the bottom of the table with 10 points from as many matches.
The match failed to rise to dizzy heights even as Vasco held more of the ball possession in the first half and later dominated the second half but inept shooting by their strikers particularly Sherzod Nazarov who muffed two easy chances from close cost them full points.
Mohammedan Sporting keeper Naseem Akhtar, who displayed good reflexes under the bar also made at least three close saves, saved the day for the visitors, and was later adjudged the man of the match.
Vasco, meddle with the ball well had the first chance to score but Sherzod Nazarov and Joy Ferrao failed to connect a cross from the right by Ravshan Teshabaev in the 16th minute.
Mohammedan slowly settled down and came with a couple of good moves from the right exposed the Vasco's defense, which looked inexperience in the absence of Covan Lawerence nearly conceded another goal but keeper Laxmikant Kattimani made a good save off Suraj Mondal off SK Azim's pass.
Vasco had the best chance to equalize five minute before the interval when a pass from Donald Rocha inside the box saw Menino Fernandes directing the ball over the bar from close.
The change of ends saw Vasco completely dominating the match as they probed the rival goal more often and repeatedly tore open the defense but Naseem Akhtar stood tall under the ball to deny Menino Fernandes, Ravshan and Sherzod from scoring. Earlier Yorkin Nazarov was unlucky as his 25-yards hit the bar.
Referee P Bhaskar showed yellow card to Mohammedan's Gurpreet Singh for time wasting.