Calcutta: Kayne Vincent netted the winner as Prayag United SC defeated Costa Rica’s Deportivo Saprissa 2-1 in the IFA Shield semi-final, at the Kalyani Stadium, on Friday.
Vincent, who came in as a replacement for Ranty Martins in the 80th, netted 17 minutes later. The teams were locked 1-1 after regulation time.
Saprissa’s Jonathan Bguiliar had earlier equalised in the 28th minute after United SC shot into the lead thanks to Mohammed Rafique’s 26th-minute strike.
United SC were in a mood to attack from the outset, going for that ‘early goal’. They had a definite plan of building their moves by playing passes and the team’s stars didn’t disappoint.
But Saprissa defenders were up to the task as they denied space to their opponent in the box. However, their defence caved in for once in the first half and United SC players made complete use of the opportunity.
After taking control of Ravinder Singh’s short corner, James Singh made a swift turn to make space before crossing for Ranty Martins. The Nigerian, in turn, headed it back for an unmarked Rafique at the far post.
Rafique unleashed a powerful right-footer, that hit the back of the net to give United SC the lead.
Stung by the reverse, the Saprissa were got their act together. They drew level within two minutes. While trying to clear a Luis Cordero centre, Gouramangi Singh fell to the ground. His faulty clearance was picked up by Jonathan, who placed the ball calmly past United ’keeper Sangram Mukherjee.
The elusive winner came in the 97th minute. Carlos was at the heart of the move. Taking control of a loose ball, he released Rafique on the right. Rafique made a rippling 30-yard run before laying it off for Vincent. The New Zealand striker didn’t fail to do the needful.