Late goal keeps Sporting's chances alive
MARGAO: Sporting Clube de Goa pulled off a late heist upending Royal Wahingdoh 2-1 in a riveting Group A tie here at Fatorda’s Nehru Stadium on Sunday (January 4, 2015).
Left-back Biswajit Saha scored the winner with one minute of regulation time remaining to seal the first points for his ailing side after Jackichand Singh had given Royal Wahingdoh a first-half lead only to see Sporting’s Trinidad & Tobago No 9 Anthony Wolfe pulling it back at the start of the second period.
The win gives Sporting three important points and a sniff of a chance for the semifinal. Royal Wahingdoh on the other hand would take this as a setback after holding on for almost the entire duration which would have given them four points at par with East Bengal and Mumbai FC. This result now leaves them rock-bottom of the group.
Wolfe saw his header go wide from inside the box in the opening exchanges as the match got off to a frenetic pace with both sides looking to get the noses in front early on.
Jackichand though continued his prolific form in front of goal scoring his third of the tournament after he was picked out by Seityasen Singh inside the box with the match half an hour old. The Manipuri, who is now at par with Dempo’s Tolgay Ozbey and Salgaocar Douhou Pierre at the top of goalscoring charts rounded off the keeper to execute a neat back-post finish.
Stung by the setback, the Flaming Oranje pushed hard for an equaliser for the remainder of the half forcing play to be concentrated in Wahingdoh half.
India International Victorino Fernandes came closest with his incisive run into the box but had no one to get on the end of his cutback.
The half closed with Wahingdoh leading by a goal but Sporting looked likely to peg back.
It took the local side just six minutes into the second half to bring the game back on level terms.
After a flurry of Sporting corners, Wolfe sent a power-packed low drive from the D that squirmed under keeper Bernard after a Cajetan Fernandes corner was partially cleared.
Victorino proved to be a constant menace with Wahingdoh rearguard having to work overtime to negate his threat. Bernard did well between the sticks to keep his side in the game, saving twice from the forward.
Soon after, came Sporting’s crowning moment. Biswajit sprinted some 40-yards from his own half to meet a low Mauvin Borges cross from the left, tapping in past Bernard at his near post.