Defending champion Kingfisher East Bengal did Sporting Clube de Goa a huge favour by beating fancied Bengaluru FC 2-0. The result enabled the Goan side to move into the semifinals of the Federation Cup football tournament from Group B.
The ‘Group of Death’ went down to the wire as Sporting Clube’s victory in the first match of the day effectively ended East Bengal’s hopes and made it a must-win game for Bengaluru. But the Kolkata side, playing for pride, had other ideas and ended its campaign on a high.
Bengaluru was left ruing its missed opportunities in the match. Captain Sunil Chhetri fluffed a penalty in the 56th minute, while Sean Rooney missed another in the 88th as the star-studded outfit was clearly below par against East Bengal.
After a goalless first half, Chidi Edeh ended the stalemate with a spectacular 35-yard shot that goalkeeper Pawan Kumar failed to collect in the 64th minute. Chidi later doubled the lead from the edge of the box in the 75th minute.
Earlier, a resurgent Sporting Clube de Goa struck form when it mattered to subdue Rangdajied FC 2-0 for its second win of the tournament.
A Goan win looked improbable as the Meghalaya side played positively in the first half. Korean Kim Song Yong and Brazilian Edmar Figueira headed wide from close range in the ninth and 10th minutes. Sporting Clube ’keeper Ravi Kumar parried another header from Edmar in the 30th minute, as his side weathered the early storm.
After being outplayed in the first half, Sporting Clube found its bearings early in the second. Rowlin Borges’s long, diagonal ball in the 54th minute found Baioma Karpe on the left and the Liberian striker lobbed the goalkeeper Surjay Kumar Pariyar, who strayed out of his line.
The Goan side also had a goal disallowed for off-side. Substitute Victorino Fernandez beat the ’keeper with an angular shot in the 70th minute to seal the match.
Sporting Clube de Goa 2 (Boima Karpeh 54, Victorino Fernandez 70) bt Rangdajied FC 0; Kingfisher East Bengal 2 (Chidi Edeh 64, 75) bt Bengaluru FC 0.
GROUP B STANDINGS
(Read as played, won, drawn, lost, goals for, goals against, goal difference, points)
Sporting Clube de Goa: 3, 2, 0, 1, 7, 6, +1, 6
Kingfisher East Bengal: 3, 1, 1, 1, 4, 3, +1, 4
Bengaluru FC: 3, 1, 1, 1, 6, 6, 0, 4
Rangdajied FC: 3, 0 , 2, 1, 2, 4, -2, 2
Keywords: Federation Cup