Sporting Clube de Goa were held to a 1-1 draw by ONGC in their 22nd round match of the I-League at Duler Stadium, Mapusa on Thursday.
The draw brought a halt to Sporting’s five-match winning streak. Nevertheless their unbeaten run continues. The Flaming Oranje are now on 30 points from 22 outings while ONGC follow them closely in the mid-table with 29 points from equal number of games.
Sporting looked highly focused on extracting a win from this game as they exerted pressure right from the start. Their efforts were rewarded in the 20th minute when striker Dawson Fernandes firmly headed home Juan Pena’s cross to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Sporting were right on top of the game as they enjoyed long spells of possession to frustrate the trailing ONGC side.
From the few chances that the visitors created, they came closest to scoring in the 32nd minute when Jatin Bisht’s rasping shot from 20-yards out hit the Sporting woodwork.
The second half had more in store for the spectators who came in decent numbers despite the occasion of Maundy Thursday.
Sporting continued to keep the ball while ONGC hunted for openings to score. The 69th minute brought in a big advantage for ONGC as Sporting defender Samananda Singh picked up his second booking for the match and had to be given marching
orders by referee A Arjunan.
Taking advantage of their 10-man rivals, ONGC raised their level of play to pressurise the Sporting defence. The visitors finally found the much-needed
equaliser in the 77th minute when defender Hassan Adeola headed Parwinder Singh’s flag-kick into the Sporting nets.
Beginning from where they started, Sporting re-grouped themselves to create their fierce attacks. However, with Dawson demoted to the defence line, Sporting lacked the kind of urgency needed to get the goals.
Hassan who had a good game in ONGC’s defence and also a goal to his credit, was given the most valuable player award.
Sporting coach Oscar Bruzon in his post match comments said, “It is a bad feeling as we were in control of the game. I am happy with the attitude of the players. It is not possible to win always and of course impossible to win the title from this position but we want to win the rest of our matches.”
He once again was furious with the decisions of the referee. “This is the second time we have suffered because of poor decisions by the referee. If the league has to be professional, the clubs have to be professional then the referees also need to be professional,” Oscar opined.
Lajong hold Bagan 2-2
KALYANI: Mohun Bagan were denied a lead twice as a determined Shillong Lajong FC forced a 2-2 result in the 22nd round of the I-league at the Kalyani Stadium on Thursday.
Following a barren first half, Mohun Bagan surged ahead through their Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey in the 52nd minute before Lajong FC found the equaliser within a minute off Boithang Haokip.
Mohun Bagan regained their lead at the hour mark off substitute Manish Maithani. Mohun Bagan’s lead was neutralised once again as Lajong FC substitute PC Lahimthara nodded home the equaliser to determine the fate of the match.
The first session did not see much of attacks as both sides stuck to a defensive stance. Mohun Bagan had the first opportunity in the first quarter that saw Syed Rahim Nabi missing his header from close. Lajong FC also had their share
of chances. [NT]