Calcutta: Their campaign got off to a worst possible start — a 3-5 thrashing at the hands of Bengaluru FC (BFC).
The loss could well have gone on to end Sporting Clube de Goa’s hopes in this Federation Cup, thanks to the “group of death” they were in. But Oscar Bruzon’s men took all the odds in their strides, showed character and were smart in their approach to eventually secure a berth in the semi-finals from Group B.
East Bengal did them a big favour, beating BFC. But having said that, Clube had a major task on hand as they had to win against both East Bengal and Rangdajied United FC (RUFC) to keep their hopes alive.
They did the job they were required to do — eking out a 2-1 win over East Bengal and following it up with a 2-0 victory over Rangdajied on Tuesday at the MDS Complex (Manjeri). And that they stood up when it mattered, they rightly deserve an amount of luck. Clube face Dempo SC in the semis.
After a barren first half, Boima Karpeh and Victorino Fernandes struck in the second half to enable Clube do the needful.
Coach Bruzon made a change from the last game as he started with Jovel Martins. On the other hand, his counterpart Santosh Kashyap, for the first time in the competition, altered his first XI by fielding Munmun Lugun in place of T. Lalnunpuia.
Rangdajied looked a shade better as far as ball possession was concerned. But they were guilty of conceding possession in the midfield. Eight minutes after the interval, Clube took the lead through Boima.
Rowlin Borges sent in a through for Karpeh, who cleverly chipped the ball into the net, beating the Rangdajied custodian all ends up. A couple of minutes later, Victorino, who came in as a substitute, found the target only to be ruled off-side by the linesman.
Victorino, however, kept troubling the Rangdajied defence and ultimately had his way in the 70 th minute. He sprinted through the middle and slotted the ball home in a one-to-one situation with the rival goalkeeper.
In a Group C match, in Kochi, Cornell Glen fired home a hat-trick to lead Lajong FC to a thumping 4-0 victory over Mumbai FC. Boithang Haokip scored the other goal for Lajong, who had to get at least another one to keep their chances alive in the competition.