An excellent curling free-kick by their Nigerian defender Bello Rasaq inspired Prayag United Sports Club register a 2-1 win over Sporting Clube de Goa in the I-League match played at Duler grounds, here on Saturday.
It was another bad outing for the Flaming Oranje side who were coasting nicely with the 22nd minute goal from Nigerian Kalu Ogba. However the second half saw the visitors not only level term with a 48th minute goal by Nigerian striker Ranti Martins but a 77th minute goal by another Nigerian Bello Rasaq left a bitter taste in the mouth of the host team.
With Saturday’s win Prayag climbed the league table with 23 points from 15 outings, while Sporting stay on 13 points from 14 matches.
Both the sides started earnestly and had a chance each to take the lead. In the 6th minute Prayag defender Bello Rasaq came with a timely clearance to deny Adil Khan from scoring just outside the 6-yard box. Two minutes later, at the other end, Nigerian Kalu Ogba superbly disposed Sankar Oraon before he could fire at the goal.
A low cross from the right flank by Pratesh Shirodkar in the 22nd minute took a deflection off Lalkamal Bhowmick leg to see the ball travel to Nigerian Kalu Ogba, who drilled a power-packed right footer that crashed to far corner of the Prayag goal.
Six minutes later Sporting keeper Ashok Singh came with a superlative save to sway the ball for a corner off a scoring 25-yard shot from Costa Rica Carlos Hernandez.
Another chance for an equaliser was lost for the visitors as Sporting keeper Ashok blocked a close range shot from substitute S Malsaw Tluanga and before he could score off the rebound Joyner Lourenco toed the ball for a corner.
Probably a dressing down by their Dutch coach Eelco Schattorie in the dressing room during half time must have done the trick for Prayag, as in the very 3rd minute they equalised by an unbelievable goal.
Sporting’s Guinea defender Keita Boubacar, who was back after a match suspension, had a great outing in the first session as he kept rival attackers Ranti Martins and Costa Rican Carlos Hernandez well checked. However he committed one of the costliest errors, which he will take long to forget, as he carelessly let the ball to the keeper to collect but found Nigerian Ranti Martins who showed his class and composure to fire from close range with Sporting keeper Ashok Singh being reduced to a mere spectator.
A couple of minutes into the match and Ranti’s close quarter header was collected by the Sporting keeper from S Malsaw Tluanga cross.
Another defending error this time from Adil Khan, as he pulled Ranti just outside the penalty box, prompted referee Umesh Bora to award a direct free kick. Bello Rasaq free kick curled past the Sporting wall, as the ball crashed into the goal, 2-1.
Two chances went abegging for Sporting as Victorino was yards away to connect a deadly cross from Joyner Lourenco and then his reverse kick sailed miles over the post off a corner by Pratesh.
In the injury time Sporting keeper thwarted substitute New Zealander Kayne Vincent in one to one situation to restrict the score sheet to 2-1.
For brilliant defending and superb goal Bello Rasaq was rightly awarded the most valuable player of the match.
Speaking at the post match briefing, Pyayag coach Eelco Schattorie said that though his team registered a win but he was not at all happy with their overall performance, and has asked them to raise their performance in the matches ahead.
Sporting’s Spanish coach Oscar Bruzon, on the other hand, lamented on the missed chances and advised his boys to rectify the errors and perform better in the next coming games. [NT]