Sporting Clube de Goa remained in the hunt for a semifinal berth as it got the better of qualifier Kalighat Milan Sangha 3-2 in a second round Group C league match of the 34th Federation Cup here at the Kanchanjungha Stadium on Sunday.
Dawson Fernandes struck twice while Macroy Piexote found the net once for Sporting Clube, which saw all its goals coming in the first half. Christopher Chizoba scored in each half to reduce the margin for Kalighat MS.
Improving upon its 1-1 draw against last year’s runner-up East Bengal in the previous round, Sporting Clube went into attack mode right from the start. Macroy Piexote struck the target in the 12th minute to give Sporting an early advantage. Kalighat worked its way back into the game with a 36th minute equaliser off a powerful long range shot from Nigerian Christopher.
The Kolkata side could not hold on to the scoreline as Dawson fired Sporting’s return with a 43rd minute penalty. The striker found the Kalighat net again with an angular shot in first half stoppage time.
As Sporting sought to preserve the 3-1 lead by tightening its defence after the break, Kalighat exploited the free space and reduced the margin in the 72nd minute off a Christopher solo goal.
East Bengal posts win
In the second Group C match, East Bengal recovered from a goal’s deficit to beat a 10-man ONGC FC 2-1. ONGC took the lead through its Japanese striker Katsumi Yusa before East Bengal made the turnaround scoring twice through Nigerian Edeh Chidi and late second half substitute Manandeep Singh.
Yusa was later ejected with double booking as ONGC played with 10 men in the last 12 minutes of the action.East Bengal suffered reverse early as ONGC FC started on a bright note. Making good use of the flanks, ONGC decisively opened up the East Bengal defence in the ninth minute, when Yusa made a darting run into the East Bengal box and slotted home a sharp back-centre from Sorabuddin Mollick.
East Bengal took time to regroup and found the equaliser off a set-piece situation in the injury-time of the first half when Edeh Chidi scored through a spectacular free-kick.
East Bengal and Sporting Clube de Goa remained tied on top of the group table with four points each from two matches.
Dempo in last four
Dempo became the first team to book a semifinal berth when it humbled Mumbai FC 4-0 final round of Group A league at Jamshedpur. Nigerian Koko Sakibo scored the first hat-trick of the tournament to help Dempo ensure the big win. Clifford Miranda scored one to complete the scoreline.
The results: At Siliguri: Group C: Sporting Clube 3 (Macroy Piexote 12, Dawson Fernandes 43-pen, 45+1) bt Kalighat MS 2 (Christopher Chizoba 36, 72); East Bengal 2 (Edeh Chidi 45+3, Manandeep Singh 82) bt ONGC FC 1 (Katsumi Yusa 9).At Jamshedpur: Group A: Dempo 4 (Clifford Miranda 23, Koko Sakibo 43, 79, 90) bt Mumbai FC 0; Pailan Arrows 2 (Holicharan Narzary 17, Prabir Das 69) bt Shillong Lajong 1 (Ebi Sukore 21).Monday’s matches: Siliguri: Group B: Air India vs Churchill Brothers; Mohun Bagan vs Mohammedan Sporting.Jamshedpur: Group D: Prayag United vs United Sikkim FC; Pune FC vs Salgaocar SC.
Keywords: 34th Federation Cup