Sanwil D’Costa played an influential role for the Port Towners.
Sanwil D’Costa and U-20 Sheldon Pereira scored in the second half, as Vasco came from two goals down to hold Calangute Association to a high-scoring 2-2 draw in the opening match of the Goa Professional League, played at Duler Stadium here on Tuesday.
The match was restricted to midfield play in the first 25 minutes which ended with a goal from the Beachside. Gourav Kankonkar made a brilliant trough-pass to Denson Fernandes who produced a clinical finish from inside the box to put Calangute into the lead.
Vasco had a chance to level back in the 41st minute, as their defender Sanwil D’Costa made a darting run cutting past three-four opponents on the way, but the lad failed to put power in his shot from the top of the box as Calangute custodian Ram Saroop comfortably collected it.
Calangute had two more chances before half-time, but first Vasco defender Amit Das made a timely clearance to deny Denson in the box. Whereas, a few minutes later, Moises D’Sa goalbound free-kick from the edge of the box was brilliantly blocked by Vasco keeper Sanju.
Calangute doubled their lead within three minutes in the second session, as Mario Mascarenhas’ sparkling free-kick from the edge of the box entered the top corner making it 2-0 for the Beachside.
Trailing by two goals, Vasco refused to give up and quickly reduced the margin, as Sanwil collected a short pass from Mainoo Dadanuvoor and danced past three opponents to enter the box, before blasting the ball into the back of the nylons to pull one back.
A few minutes later, Sanwil had another chance to make it all square for his side, as he nicely collected a corner from substitute Raju Padashi and went for glory with a fierce strike, but failed to keep it on target.
In the very next minute, Sanwil made an excellent through-pass to Raju in the box, but Calangute keeper Ram came off his line collect the ball before the strike could do any damage. Whereas, another great opportunity went in vain for the Port Towners as Micky Vaz found Sheldon Pereira in the box with a long cross, but the U-20 winger’s header went over the crossbar.
At the other end, Calangute also came close to extending their lead, as Daryl Costa came up with a fine cross in the box to substitute Domnic Fernandes, but the midfielder headed wide from close. Then, Vasco once again came close to equalizing in the 78th minute, when Amit’s long cross was brilliantly headed to Raju in the box, but the striker saw his powerful shot missed the target by a whisker.
Calangute also wasted an easy opportunity to extend their lead in the 81st minute, as this time substitute Vineet Bugde nicely setup Daryl with a long cross and the winger made a swift run, but Vasco keeper Sanju Thapa brilliantly blocked his goalbound shot.
After some probing attacks, the Port Towners finally managed to level in the 87th minute, as Mainoo’s perfect cross from the right flank was smartly tapped in by U-20 Sheldon making it 2-2 for Vasco.
Sheldon had a chance to put Vasco into the lead in added-time, as he was in a similar situation following a cross from Raju, but the U-20 lad’s header missed the target by hairline distance.
Click here for the Goa Pro League 2019-20 points table after this match.