Ankit Singh and Nokul Singh spearheaded the comeback for the Armymen.
Corps of Signals came from a goal down to beat Vasco SC 1-2 in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Sunday. After goalless first half, Vasco surged ahead through substitute Bibetta Radhakrishnan, while two quick goals from Ankit Singh and Nokul Singh snatched all three points for the Armymen.
Signals had few changes to their side following a defeat against Guardian Angels SC in the last match. Shuklab Bordoloi, Rajasaab Tahashildar and Praful Surin made a start for the Armymen. Whereas, Vasco coach Micky Fernandes made only one change to his side which lost to Churchill Brothers in the previous round. U-20 winger Sheldon Pereira made a comeback into the starting XI.
Vasco had the best opportunity to take an early lead in the fourth minute, when their U-20 winger Altaf Navaloor nicely curled the ball into the box. But, another U-20 winger Sheldon failed to put the ball in the back of the net with the opposition keeper beaten.
The Armymen quickly responded with a swift attack of their own. Shuklab made a short cross to Nim Bhutia in the box. His header rebounded off the frame of the goal and was later cleared by Vasco defender Amit Das. Shuklab came up with another fine cross to Amit Tariyal in the box, but the lad failed to keep his header on target.
At the other end, Vasco midfielder Sanwil D’Costa tried his luck from distance only to be denied by the woodwork. Signals also had a golden opportunity to surge ahead in the 26th minute. Vasco’s Nigerian defender Olumide Olowolagba misplaced a pass in the box to Ankit Singh, whose strike rebounded off the post and landed at the feet of his teammate Bhutia. But, the Nigerian defender made up for his mistake, as he cleared the goalbound shot for a corner.
The last few minutes of the half saw Vasco dominating with successive attacks from both flanks, but the Signals’ defenders brilliantly guarded their goal. On the other hand, the Armymen changed their strategy to play on the counter, but Vasco’s last line also kept every danger at bay.
With just a few seconds to the half-time whistle, Vasco came close to scoring when Bibetta Radhakrishnan produced a through pass to Suraj Mondal on the halfway line. He made a darting run and was about to score from inside the box, but assistant referee Yuvraj Tari raised his flag for offside.
In the second half of Vasco-Corps of Signals, Vasco came out attacking and quickly went for glory, but first Sanwil and later substitute Raju Padashi failed to keep their strikes on target. A few minutes later, Vasco skipper Anil Gaonkar produced a lobbed pass to Micky Vaz in the box, but he failed to control his lofted shot.
Another good opportunity went in vain for the Port Towners in the 57th minute. Micky’s fine corner was brilliantly headed by Olumide from inside the box, but Signals keeper Binu Purushothama made an excellent block to deny the Nigerian defender.
Vasco keeper Sanju Thapa also made a breathtaking save in the 63rd minute. Vishnu Chhetri’s perfect free-kick was headed on target by Bhutia from inside the six-yard box, but the custodian brilliantly blocked his goalbound strike.
After consecutive attacks, Vasco finally surged ahead in the 65th minute. A well-taken corner by Micky was smartly headed to Bibetta by Olumide and the striker made no mistake to slot the ball into the goal.
Signals refused to give up and continuously attacked their rivals in the hunt for an equaliser and finally managed to level back in the 79th minute. Vasco defender Amit Das made a mistake while clearing a long throw-in and Signals’ Shuklab headed the ball to his teammate Ankit, who blasted it home to make it 1-1.
Just six minutes later, Signals took the lead. A shot from substitute Nokul Singh deflected off Vasco defender Mainoo Dadanavoor and completely beat keeper Sanju to settle in the net, making it 1-2 for the Armymen.