|Kingfisher East Bengal’s Edeh Chidi celebrates after scoring against Sporting Clube de Goa, in Siliguri, on Friday. Picture courtesy: AIFF
Calcutta: Sporting Clube de Goa made a spectacular comeback to hold last year’s runners-up East Bengal 1-1 in the second Group C league match of the Federation Cup, at the Kanchanjungha Stadium, on Friday.
East Bengal played with 10 men in the last few minutes of the match when their midfielder Mehtab Hossain was sent off with a red card in the 85th minute.
A spell of heavy rain, just before the kick-off, ended the possibility of a good contest. Sporting Clube took time to adjust to the slushy conditions while East Bengal were comparatively more comfortable.
The home side made a positive start and was rewarded for the effort when they was awarded a penalty in the sixth minute by referee Rahul D’Sa. East Bengal midfielder Penn Orji was brought down inside the Clube box and after D’Sa pointed to the dreaded spot Clube players voiced their displeasure.
That did not affect Edeh Chidi much and the Nigerian calmly converted the penalty to give last year’s runners-up 1-0 lead.
Sporting Clube looked for the equaliser and opened up their game on the flanks. The wait was prolonged till late in the second session as the Sporting Clube’s Cameroonian striker Bertrand Bong missed a couple of sitters in the 30th and 50th minute.
Clube’s consistent effort paid off as they found the equaliser in the 81st minute. Victorino Fernandes, who replaced Dawson Fernandes, found the back of East Bengal net following a fine solo effort.
East Bengal’s hopes of regaining the lead was extinguished when Mehtab got his second yellow card four minutes later.
Earlier, in another Group C match, ONGC rallied to beat qualifier Kalighat MS 5-1.
Japanese midfielder Katsumi Yusa and Nigerian Keshukwu Onyema scored two goals each while Sachin Gawas struck the other to complete ONGC’s tally. Kalighat had taken the lead with James Gbilee’s goal before ONGC started the onslaught.
Kalighat MS, who entered the main round with an all-win record in the qualifiers, dominated the initial exchanges. As ONGC took time to adjust to the heavy ground conditions, Kalighat sought the early goal off their new recruit James Gbilee, in the 15th minute.