Sporting Clube de Goa hold East Bengal to exciting 1-1 draw
Sporting Clube de Goa held East Bengal to an exciting 1-1 draw at the Fatorda stadium in Goa. Ranti Martins scored the first goal in the seventh minute of the game while Kalu Ogba equalized around the 75-minute mark in the match to salvage a point for his team.
East Bengal visited Goa to take on local side Sporting Clube de Goa for their first round match of Hero I-League. It was a re-match of the Federation Cup group stage match in which Sporting Clube pipped the Kolkata giants 4-3 in a dramatic encounter. The away side were missing the services of two crucial first team players, Dudu Omagbemi and Harmanjot Singh Khabra.
Sporting Clube de Goa wasteful in first-half
East Bengal dominated proceedings in the initial stages of the game. Their efforts bore fruit soon, when Ranti Martins scored the opening goal of the match in the seventh minute. Cavin Lobo chipped a brilliant ball towards the Nigerian who just had to beat Ravi Kumar and push the ball into the goal.
Soon after the goal the hosts took control of the match and attacked with precision. They dominated possession and created more chances. Had it not been for Subhashish’s brilliance, Sporting could have restored parity with ease. Also, they missed quite a few chances and striker Anthony Wolfe was not supported well by his teammates in the attacking third.
East Bengal made to pay for defensive strategy
Sporting continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and forced East Bengal to defend in numbers. They were just aiming long balls towards Ranti, who was caught alone in the opponent’s half on multiple occasions. The East Bengal defense did a commendable job under the leadership of Milan Susak. as they kept Anthony Wolfe under check and thwarted Kalu Ogba’s attempts to create clear-cut chances very well.
Armando Colaco substituted Joaquim Abranches, and brought on Sukhwinder Singh, who is predominantly a defensive midfielder. That looked to have made the difference as the visitors seemed to be in control. Just when everybody thought that Colaco’s tactics were proving to be a success, Kalu Ogba restored parity from a brilliant team move.
East Bengal lacked imagination in their gameplay in the entire second half and the fact that they opted for an ultra-defensive strategy eventually cost them three important points from a tough away game. Despite all that, they could have won it right at the death as Ranti Martins wasted an easy chance when his shot from just 6 yards out was cleared by a Sporting defender and then the ball went on to hit the post and away from danger.