Mapusa / New Delhi: Prayag United completed a hat-trick of wins when they came from behind to defeat Sporting Clube de Goa 2-1 at the Duler Stadium, on Saturday.
After two good wins over Dempo and Pune FC, United SC had started favourites against Sporting Clube. But Ogba Kalu’s goal in the 24th minute seemed to upset calculations.
Prayag, however, turned the match around in the second half when Ranty Martins equalized in the 48th minute and Bello Rasaq scored the winner with a majestic free-kick in the 77th minute.
Both teams started cautiously and it was not until the 20th minute when one got to see goal-mouth action as Ranty tested the rival goalkeeper with a couple of long rangers.
Sporting Clube surged ahead much against the run of play in the 24th minute when a smart free-kick from Pratesh Shirodkar saw Kalu receive the ball just outside the box and then unleash a fierce drive that deflected of a defender and sailed into the goal.
The goal stunned Prayag United, and although they were in control, there were not much openings. The only chance of the first half was when Carlos Hernandez’s powerful long ranger was tipped over the post by Sporting goalkeeper Ashok Singh.
Sporting Clube got the equaliser immediately after resumption of play in the second session as Ranty capitalised on a defensive lapse. A long ball from Prayag’s half was hesitantly covered by the Sporting defenders allowing Ranty the space to toe the ball home.
In New Delhi, ONGC edged past Salgaocar 1-0. F. Lalmuanpuia’s goal minutes into the second half turned out to be the winner in an otherwise evenly matched contest.
For the visitors, Marcus Mascarenhas muffed one of the easiest chances of the season, failing to convert from six yards after Royoston D’Souza had set him perfectly.
In Pune, a 10-man Pailan Arrows staged a brilliant fightback and held Air India to a 1-1 draw.