| Scorers Nitin Pradhan (left) and Minino Fernandes after Vasco's win Saturday
Calcutta, Jan. 11: Taking full advantage of a 10-man Calcutta Port Trust, Vasco SC came back from a one-goal deficit to notch up a 3-1 win in their IFA Shield group B match at the Salt Lake Stadium Saturday.
Amar Pyne handed the city outfit a deserving lead in the 38th minute. But Port Trust defender Bijay Paul’s second bookable offence and subsequent ouster from the match immediately after the break brought about a dramatic change in fortunes.
Vasco seized the opportunity and pumped in three goals through Riston Rodrigues, Minino Fernandes and Nitin Pradhan in a 23-minute spell. Bijay earned the first yellow card for rough play, but his next offence leading to his marching order, left one wondering about the severity of his action. He was booked second time, said referee S. Yasin of Maharashtra, for “taking a free-kick from a wrong position”. Surely, the player could have easily been just reprimanded.
The scoreline, which underwent a sea-change following that incident, must have taken a heavy toll on Port Trust. But to say that they were finished thereafter would be giving a lie to the reality. In fact, their striking force of Amar and Pradip Indu, both of who led a successful Bengal campaign in the recently-held National Games in Hyderabad, along with inspiring Sandeep Ghosh, carried out innumerable sorties but failed to open the gates.
Everybody — from Indu to the scorer to late substitute Santanu Chakraborty — is to be blamed for not supplementing the Port Trust effort with respect, if not a possible win.
The city team went ahead with a copybook goal. Midfielder Bastab Roy, who continuously nagged the right side of the Vasco defence, played a one-two with Sandeep, before sending a high cross. Goalkeeper Rogerio Ramos, who replaced Saji Joy, injured while clearing an Indu attempt five minutes earlier, missed the flight and Pyne, lurking unmarked in the far end, headed home.
Seconds before the break, Pyne was denied another goal when Sebi Dias came from nowhere to effect a goalline save.
Missing a man in defence forced Port Trust to make a temporary withdrawal to their zone and Vasco made full use of a now open space in the midfield. Brazilian Rui Wanderley started operating from a withdrawn position and off-colour Agnelo Gomes was replaced by enterprising Nitin Pradhan.
The Vasco equaliser came in the 50th minute when Rodrigues header from a Wanderley cross was defected in off Port Trust central defender Srimanta Das’ legs. Ten minutes later, Fernandes unleashed a powerful low grounder which left Sandip Guha under bar clueless. Then, in the 73rd minute, Pradhan justified his substitution by heading home from close.
VASCO SC: Saji Joy (Rogerio Ramos, 33m); Sanjay Parte, Seby Dias, Agnelo Colaco, Shamshi Raja; Sushant Matthew, Minino Fernandes, Riston Rodrigues (Anthony Fernandes, 60), Santa Singh; Rui Wanderley, Agnelo Gomes (Nitin Pradhan, 45).
PORT TRUST: Sandip Guha; Rabindranath Karmakar, Bijoy Paul, Srimanta Das, Somen Sarkar; Sanjit Saha, Amit Roy (Sujit Dey, 75), Bastab Roy (Sankar Ghosh, 69), Sandeep Ghosh (Santanu Chakraborty, 83); Pradip Indu, Amar Pyne.
Referee: S. Yasin.