By Debayan Mukherjee,
AIFF Media Team
Sporting Clube de Goa 4 (Victorino Fernandes – 1st, 67th, 78th Anthony Wolfe – 45+2)
East Bengal 3 (Ranty Martins – 6th, Dudu Omagbemi – 30th, Shylo Malsawmtulunga – 34th
MARGAO: Two goals in the space of 23 second-half minutes turned a cliffhanger Hero Federation Cup Group A encounter on its head as last year’s finalists Sporting Clube de Goa reined in East Bengal’s one-goal lead in the first half to win 4-3 and enter the semifinals at the expense of the Kolkata giants here at the Nehru Stadium Tuesday (January 6, 2015).
Hattrick hero Victorino Fernandes scored either side of first-half strikes from East Bengal’s Ranty Martins (penalty), Dudu Omagbemi, and Shylo Malsawmtulunga to comeback from 3-1 to win 4-3 after the local outfit had taken a first-minute lead courtesy Victorino. Anthony Wolfe had reduced the arrears in first-half stoppage time when the score read 3-1.
As per the mathematics, the winner of this match would make the last-four at the cost of the other with a draw helping Raoyal Wahingdoh sniff a chance if they defeated Dempo on the morrow (January 7, 2015).
The game started at a frenetic pace with both sides scoring within the first six minutes. Sporting took the lead before East Bengal could settle down with Victorino curling home a fine far-post finish latching onto a pass from Beevan D'Mello.
Jolted by the early setback, East Bengal rushed for the equaliser and their efforts didn’t take time to materialise albeit from a penalty.
Sporting’s Nigerian stopper-back Kofi Dankwae pulled Mohammed Rafique down inside the area to give away a cheap spot kick. Another Nigerian Ranti stepped up and made goalkeeper Ravi Kumar go the wrong way tucking the ball low into the back of the net.
Drama peaked again on the half-hour mark when Dudu gave the red and golds the lead for the first time in the match. Sporting paid the price for not clearing Shylo’s corner early with Dudu poking home from the melee at the keeper’s near post.
There was more joy for East Bengal five minutes later. Ranty’s diagonal through ball from near the centre line found an unmarked Dudu on the left hand corner of the box. The former Sporting striker then squared the ball for Shylo who tapped it in with ease.
Just when the eight-time Fed Cup champions looked to be going into the break with a two goal cushion, Sporting reminded them the game was far from over.
Rowlin Borges lobbed the East Bengal defense to find Wolfe in the clear. The Trinidad & Tobago striker ran some yards to meet the cross, dinking keeper Subhashish with a timely header that nestled into the back post.
At halftime the score read 3-2.
There was no lapse in intensity after the break as Sporting pounced on East Bengal’s tired rearguard launching a series of attacks. Not that East Bengal did not have their share of chances with Ranty and Dudu coming agonisingly close to increasing the margin.
Victorino forced a good save from Subhashish Roy Chowdhury and Cajetan Fernandes missed by a yard before Sporting went on a scoring spree.
Substitute Velito Cruz’s corner was first met by Kofi whose header was saved by an alert Subhashish but only as far as Victorino who tapped in the rebound to equalise.
Sporting took the lead for the second and final time when Victorino took down a Mauvin Borges measured through ball to place it perfectly into the back of the net and break into a wild jig.
East Bengal still had time to equalise and even stage a late comeback but nothing of that sort happened as Sporting took off their star man Victorino and replaced him with defender Chandrashekhar Chinta to see off the memorable triumph.
Posted on : Tuesday January 06, 2015