Sporting Clube de Goa made a spectacular comeback to hold last year’s runners-up East Bengal 1-1 in the second Group C league match of the Federation Cup at Kanchanjungha Stadium on Friday.
East Bengal played with 10 men in the last few minutes of the action when their midfielder Mehtab Hossain was sent off with a red card in the 85th minute.
A spell of heavy rain just before the start of the match ended the possibility of a good contest and had a telling effect on the rest action. Sporting Clube took time to adjust to the slushy conditions while East Bengal were comparatively more comfortable.
The home side made a more positive start and was rewarded for the effort when they was awarded a penalty in the sixth minute by referee Rahul D’Sa (from WIFA), who ruled sliding fall of East Bengal midfielder Orji Penn inside the Sporting Clube box a foul against the latter’s defence. The Sporting Clube made a loud protest to the decision which was turned down to have Edeh Chidi scoring from the spot.
Sporting Clube began the hunt for the equaliser and opening up their game on the flanks. The wait was prolonged till late in the second session as the Sporting Clube’s Cameroonian striker Bertrand Bong missed couple of sitters in the 30th and 50th minutes.
The visitors kept up a consistent effort and found the equaliser in the 81stminute when Victorino Fernandes, who replaced Dawson Fernandes, found the back of East Bengal net following a fine solo effort. East Bengal’s hopes of regaining the lead was extinguished when Hossain was marched off in the 85th minute, when he earned the second yellow card of the match.