Nigerian striker Henry Ezeh played an influential role in the Port Towners’ victory with a goal and an assist.
Vasco Sports Club registered an easy 2-0 win over Calangute Association in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Monday afternoon. Nigerian Henry Ezeh opened the tally for the Port Towners in the early minutes, while substitute strike Beneston Barretto confirmed the victory with an added-time goal.
Vasco gaffer Micky Fernandes made a few changes to his side which held Churchill Brothers in the previous round, as Moises D’Sa and Minesh Kunkolkar made a comeback into the lineup, while they played without their key player Nigerian playmaker Penn Orji, who was suspended due to a red card in the last match. On the other hand, Calangute were high on confidence after registering a win against Guardian Angel SC in the last match, after losing five matches in a row. Their coach Agostinho Dias introduced newly-signed Senegalese striker Abdoul Fall and midfielder Sidath Ndiaye into the starting XI.
The Port Towners made a dream start to the match as they took just five minutes to surge ahead, when Schubert Pereira’s cutback was brilliantly headed in by Nigerian striker Henry Ezeh to make it 1-0 for Vasco.
A few minutes later they had a chance to double their lead when Schubert easily danced past three opponents in the box, but his shot found the side-netting from close range.
The next 15 minutes saw Calangute custodian Sanij Bugde coming up with a few brilliant saves, as Vasco U-20 starlet Aman Govekar’s goalbound shot was brilliantly fisted over the crossbar for a corner. From the resultant set-piece, the Beachsiders had another opportunity to level things, but Anil Gaonkar’s header was once again parried to safety by the Calangute custodian.
He made another breathtaking save in the 32nd minute, when Nigerian striker Henry went for glory from the edge of the box, but his powerful shot was acrobatically pushed out for a corner by Sanij.
At the other end, Calangute tried to build some pressure on the opponents with a few swift raids, but the Vasco defence led by skipper Lenstan Afonso and Sanwil D’Costa cleared every danger until the half-time whistle.
Meanwhile, Vasco had another opportunity to double their lead just before the half-time when Schubert setup Anil in the box with a defence-splitting through pass, but a Calangute defender made a goalline clearance to limit the damage for his side.
Unlike the first session, the second half started with Calangute taking full charge of the match with continuous attacks, but once again the Vasco defenders along with their custodian Sanju Thapa made some brilliant clearances to keep their side safe.
Calangute had two clear chances in the last quarter of the match as first, Dominic Fernandes nicely curled the ball to Abodoul in the box from a free-kick but the Senegalese striker failed to control his header from close. They had another opening in the 89th minute, when the same pair worked from a corner, but like the last time the Senegalese forward’s header missed the target.
In between these opportunitie, Vasco almost doubled their lead in the 81st minute, when their tricky midfielder Moises cut past two defenders to enter the box and shot, but his sparkling strike rebounded off the crossbar.
However, in added-time, substitute striker Benseston Barretto doubled the tally when he was brilliantly fed by Nigerian forward Henry with a chested pass in the box and the striker shot past Calangute keeper Sanij from close range to confirm all three points from the match.