Gutsy Rangdajied held fancied Bengaluru FC to a 1-1 draw to throw open the group of death in the Federation Cup. The draw was Rangajied’s second in as many matches while Bengaluru still leads Group B with four points, thus making the last set of league matches on Tuesday interesting.
K. Thoi Singh scored in the second minute with a scorching drive off a pass from Siam Hangal to put Bengaluru ahead.
Rangdajied refused to be cowed down and gave many uncomfortable moments to the opposition. Brazilian Edmar Figueira, Korean Kim Song Yong and Japanese Yohei Iwasaki gave a good account of themselves but the Bengaluru backline was able to stymie the Rangdajied moves in first half.
However, Rangdajied’s grittiness bore fruit as Lamine headed in the equaliser in the 80th minute.
Earlier, Sporting Clube de Goa kept its faint semifinal hopes alive with a 2-1 win over defending champion Kingfisher East Bengal in Group B.
East Bengal was left to rue the number of chances missed by its Sudanese import James Joseph Moga. The Goan side was scrappy and did little of note after the opening burst which saw it go ahead in the 18th minute through Victorino Fernandez who headed in a cross from Beevan D’Mello.
East Bengal regrouped but strikers Moga and Edeh Chidi were found wanting in converting the chances that came their way. In the first half, Moga failed to score twice when he had only goalkeeper Ravi Kumar to beat.
On the first occasion Moga’s lob over the ’keeper’s head was cleared off the goal-line by a Goan defender and in the 30th minute, the Sudanese striker beat the off-side trap and went around the goalkeeper but shot wide of the unguarded goal.
East Bengal came out all guns blazing in the second half and a bout of sustained aggression saw it draw level in the 58th minute. Goalkeeper Ravi Kumar brought down East Bengal captain Harmanjot Singh Khabra inside the box and the resultant penalty was converted by Japanese midfielder Ryuji Sueoka.
The playmaker sent Moga clear on two occasions only for the striker to flunk both chances, shooting straight at the ’keeper with one and hitting the post with the other. However, the Goans found the match-winner against the run of play as a fast move from the left flank saw D’Mello score off a pass from substitute Stephene Barreto in the 85th minute.
The results: Sporting Clube de Goa 2 (Fernandez 18, D’Mello 85) bt Kingfisher East Bengal 1 (Sueoka 58); Bengaluru FC 1 (K. Thoi Singh 2) drew with Rangdajied 1 (Lamine 80).
Keywords: Federation Cup