Sporting Clube de Goa suffered their third successive defeat after Air
India rallied from a goal down to post a 3-1 win in the 9th round of the I League at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Wednesday.
Sporting were the favourites to collect full points this time. With fan support and familiar home conditions to count on, Sporting Clube had more than just casual reasons to walk away with a win. When South Sudan striker James Moga scored in the eighth minute itself, Sporting seemed to be on the right track. But Air India had other plans up their sleeves.
At first Sandesh Gadkari cancelled the home side’s lead after he found the mark in the 34th minute. Gadkari gave his team the lead five minutes from close, and then Ezeh Henry scored another goal in the final minute of play to give Air India three crucial points.
Sporting Clube were off to a dream start when the home side found the mark inside eight minutes when Moga was fouled just outside the danger zone by Lamine Tamba. Freiman Peixoto floated the ball inside the box where Moga headed powerfully past the fingers of Air India goalkeeper Pawan Kumar.
The goal spurred Sporting Clube and they had several opportunities to close the match. Moga missed from a distance and winger Jovel Martins also went close in quick succession.
Sporting paid dearly for their misses as Air India soon restored parity. Relying on counter attacks, Sandesh Gadkari made amends for his earlier lapse when he headed home a well directed cross from Manandeep to ensure the teams were locked 1-1 before trooping out for the breather.
Air India surged ahead for the first time in the match in the 85th minute when substitute Ezeh Henry picked out Gadkari who only had to tap inside the goal to make it 2-1.
Henry himself added his name to the scoresheet in the last minute to take Air India’s points tally to 13 from nine matches. Sporting Clube remained on 12.