Victorino’s brace sent Sporting Goa on top of GPL
Written by: Ravish R Narvekar
Sporting and Dempo SC are tightly contesting for the top position with the same number of points.
Victorino Fernandes’s second-half brace helped Sporting Clube de Goa to regain the top position after defeating FC Goa 2-1 in a tightly contested Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium earlier today.
With today's win, Sporting sit at the top of the table with 24 points from 10 matches, while Goan has 11 points from nine outings.
Sporting had a fantastic run in the league as they were undefeated in the league. Their recent win was against Vasco SC in the last match, whereas, Goan were downed by Salgaocar FC in the previous round match.
Alesh Sawant and Girish Naik were back in the Sporting starting XI, whereas last match scorer Nigerian striker Abiola Afuwape was also included in the starting XI by their coach Mateus Costa. Goan coach Clifford Miranda also made few changes to his side as defender Lalnunsiama, Liston Colaco and Yasir Mohammad made the comeback, while goalkeeper Mohannad Nawaz made debut for the junior Guars in GPL.
Sporting should have surged ahead in the very first minute when Abiola snatched the ball from Jonathan Cardozo’s feet and squared it to his teammate Victorino Fernandes in the box but the striker failed to get to it as Goan defender cleared it on time.
The rest of the session witnessed an end-to-end affair where both the teams had equal chance to go into the lead. In few of these, Goan midfielder Hayden Fernandes saw his powerful strike rebounded off the goalpost, while Sporting winger Daryl Costa covered some ground and fired a powerful shot on the goal but former India U-17 world Cup keeper Nawaz smartly blocked it for safety.
Sporting once again came close to scoring with just three minutes from the resumption of the match after the lemon break as Quan Gomes made a short pass to Abiola who cut past a defender to enter the box and went for the glory from inside the box but keeper Nawas made diving efforts to push the same for corner. A minute later Abiola once again came with a similar shot and keeper Nawas also cleared the danger in a similar style.
However, in the 64th minutes, Nawaz was completely helpless when Sporting skipper Victorino fluently cut past a defender and placed the ball home from inside the box to send his side ahead.
Ten minutes later, Sporting were reduced to 10-men when Peter Carvalho was shown the second caution of the match and given the marching orders by referee Meckenzyl Silveira.
Despite having a man short on the field, Sporting came up with the second goal in the 74th minutes as Victorino completed his hat-trick when he repeated his action from the last goal after getting a through pass from Dayrl to make it 2-0 for his side.
The last few minutes of the match were intense for Sporting defence as Goan came out all attacking and finally succeeded to find the net in the 90th minutes through Hayden whose powerful volley dropped into the back of the net. However, it was too late for the guars to get back into the match as the match ended in favour of the Flaming Orange.
Published: Wed Jan 24, 2018 08:42 PM IST