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I-League: Bharat FC earn confidence boosting 1-0 win against Sporting Club de Goa

An all-round performance from Bharat FC earned them a much-needed 1-0 win over Sporting Club de Goa in the I-League.

Bharat FC’s Syed Rahim Nabi vies for the ball during their 1-0 win over Sporting Club de Goa

A highly disciplined and attractive performance from Bharat FC saw them down Sporting Club de Goa 1-0 in a Hero I-League round 9 clash at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Mhalunge-Balewadi on Wednesday night.

Defender Mehrajuddin Wadoo’s 58th-minute goal was enough to give Bharat FC three points in a match that the Lions controlled for large chunks. The victory saw Bharat FC climb to eighth position in the Hero I-League with eight points from seven games. 

The 1-0 defeat ensured that Sporting Club de Goa remained rooted to the bottom of the table, having collected just three points from their eight games. 

In a nervy opening, Bharat FC conceded a couple of soft free kicks in the first five minutes but Sporting were unable to take advantage of these openings. In the eighth minute, Lester Fernandez, operating on the right as part of a forward trio, put in a delightful cross for Kris Bright who tried valiantly but could not manage to get past the central defensive duo.

Just a couple of minutes later, Tomba Singh, handed his first start of the season managed to release Romuald Boco down the right. The Beninese midfielder controlled the ball beautifully, cut inside the Sporting box and tried to place his shot in the far corner. Though the well-struck shot evaded Lalit Thapa’s outstretched dive, it whistled just past the far post. 

In the 20th minute, the three Bharat FC central midfielders, Boco, Tomba and Bobby Hassell, combined beautifully, taking almost 20 sublime touches before Tomba was released down the center. The midfielder advanced a few yards and pulled the trigger from 25 yards out. The swerving shot seemed to cause some confusion in goalkeeper Thapa’s mind but ultimately the ball sailed over the crossbar. 

The hardworking Lions created a spate of chances in the next 15 minutes before Kris Bright’s header off Hassell’s free kick was just about gathered by a scrambling Thapa. The remaining 10 minutes saw Sporting being continually pushed back into their half, but the goal remained elusive. 

The all-important opener arrived in the 58th minute off a wonderfully worked set-piece. The hardworking Lester Fernandez managed to win a corner after Sandesh Jhingan   abruptly hacked away a curling cross.

Fernandez’s perfectly weighted corner was put in the center of the box and the right-back Mehrajuddin Wadoo arrived just in time to power an unstoppable header past Thapa and into the roof of the net.

What was most impressive about the entire move was that Wadoo started his run a good 25 yards away from goal, managed to find his way into the box unmarked and effected a great connection. 

Sporting had a couple of good chances to level scores in the last twenty minutes. Substitute Beevan D’Mello was fed after some inspired running from captain Miguel Garcia. D’Mello found himself in a yard of space on the left of the Bharat FC penalty area, but his stinging low drive was saved in spectacular fashion by Arindam Bhattacharya. 

In the 84th minute, Arindam was once again Bharat FC’s savior as he once again dived full length to his right to get a strong hand on Rowllin Borges’ shot from 10 yards out. Anthony Wolfe was unable to bury the rebound and Bharat FC managed to see out the remainder of the match to pick up their second home win.

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