| Vasco striker Marcos Pereira volleys in his team’s lone goal at Salt Lake Stadium Friday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: For Tollygunge Agragami goalkeeper Arindam Ghosh, life came a full circle on Friday.
Twenty-three days ago, his Man-of-the-Match performance in Margao had failed to prevent his team from going down to Vasco SC in the National Football League. This afternoon, Arindam produced another Man-of-the-Match show and saved his team against the same Goan rivals. Tollygunge forced a 1-1 draw to move to 21 points after 15 games. Vaco have 25.
Since the Margao match, Aloke Mukherjee’s team has staged a remarkable comeback, having remained unbeaten for five matches on the trot now.
Ghosh has had to deal with the rough and the smooth ever since Tollygunge decided to take him on lien from Ever-Ready. If his slip-shod show against ITI on February 4 attracted flak, he came out with a perfect repartee against title-contenders Salgaocar after three days. And on Friday, he simply stole the thunder from Derrick Pereira’s side.
From letting an early lead be neutralised through a penalty to missing another spot-kick, Vasco did everything but score a second goal and in the end, must be cursing themselves.
They took the lead in the 20th minute, thanks to a brilliant volley from Marcos Pereira. But four minutes after the break, they conceded a freak goal.
Sandip Das’ attempt struck Selwyn Fernandes inside the box and referee K.L. Saratchandra Singh promptly pointed to the spot. Akeem Abolanle levelled the scoreline, fooling the ’keeper to dive on the wrong side.
The match then turned into a battle between a wounded Vasco and Arindam. He denied Rui Wanderley at least twice and once blocked Marcos from close range. Six minutes from time, he rounded off his heroics by saving Wanderley’s penalty kick.
The Brazilian forward set up a ball for Marcos inside the box. But the ball hit the horizontal as Arindam tried to tip it over. As the ball came off the cross-piece, it brushed midfielder Srikanta Dutta’s hands before finding Kanta Singh. Kanta’s header again crashed into the bar, but the referee thought otherwise.
Tollygunge Agragami: Arindam Ghosh; Amitava Chanda, Isiaka Awoyemi, Deb Kumar Sasmal, Deepayan Majumdar; Uttam Debnath (Mehtab Hossain, 87), Sandip Das, Moses Owira, Sujoy Dutta (Srikanta Dutta, 68), Ashim Biswas; Akeem Abolanle.
Vasco SC: Rogerio Ramos; Seby Dias, Franky Barreto, Agnelo Colaco, Jules Alberto (Agnelo Gomes, 74); Minino Fernandes (Santa Singh, 62), Riston Rodrigues, Satish Minz (Anthony Fernandes, 87), Selwyn Fernandes; Rui Wanderley, Marcos Pereira.
Referee: K.L. Saratchandra Singh.