Marcus Mascarenhas came off the bench to seal the three points for the Flaming Oranje.
Marcus Mascarenhas came off the bench to book all three points for the Sporting Clube de Goa as they edged past promoted side Velsao Sports and Cultural Club by a 2-1 margin in the inaugural match of the Goa Profession League played under floodlights at Duler Stadium earlier in the evening.
Sporting coach Mateus Costa had fielded almost similar squad to the AWES Cup finals which they had won against Salgaocar FC, whereas, Velsao’s newly appointed coach Eban Mesquita included keeper Suresh Lamani, Flan Gomes, Myron Borges in the starting XI.
Sporting started the match like a champions as they took just six minutes to take the lead when Alesh Sawant’s corner was cleared by Velsao defender but it landed in the Glan Martins’ feet who tried his luck from the edge of the box, where well placed Peter Carvalho deflected his strike into the net to make it 1-0 for the host.
However, the promoted side had a chance to make it all square in the 24th minute when Sporting defender Clive Miranda brought down Velsao skipper Joseph Pereira in the box to gift a penalty kick to the opponents but their defender Michael Silva failed to convert it as his powerful strike from the spot brushed keeper Melroy Fernandes’ gloves and rebounded off the post.
A few minutes later, they had another chance as this time their U-20 striker Jesloy Moniz went for the glory from outside the box but Sporting keeper Melroy pushed it for a corner with a diving effort. At the other end, Sporting skipper Victorino Fernandes fluently cut past few opponents just outside the box and tried his luck, only to see ii missed by few inches.
Velsao came with another opportunity in the 43rd minute when Myron fired a powerful strike from inside the box but Sporting custodian Melroy pushed it for safety.
It was just two minutes in the second session when Velsao stunned the host with an equaliser as Joseph cut past a defender and shot on the goal but it was blocked by the Sporting keeper Melroy. However, he failed to clear it completely, taking advantage of the same, Flan made an easy tap in to make it all square for the South Goans.
At the other end, Sporting came out all attacking as first, Alesh attempted half-volley from inside the box but his goalbound shot was brilliantly tipped by Velsao keeper Lamani. Another attempt went into vain for the Flaming Orange in the 63rd minutes as Glan’s sparkling strike was blocked by keeper Lamani which later rebound off the post.
Sporting coach Costa brought in Marcus replacing U20 midfielder Stendly Fernandes in the 71st minute and the striker made the difference in the match within 10 minutes after coming in as the defending champions managed to find the winner when a pin-point perfect free-kick from Alesh was brilliantly headed in by super-sub to confirm all three points for the host.