The Nigerian's goal proved to be enough for Sporting Goa to register their first win of the campaign, with both the sides hitting the post once each...
Sporting Goa got the better of Shillong Lajong by the scoreline of 1-0, to register their first I-League win of the campaign, at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Shillong.
Ogba Kalu scored the vital goal in the 39th minute with a header.
Shillong Lajong started with the pairing of Cornell Glen and Uilliams Bomfin in attack, while Wailadmi Passah marshaled the defense.
The Flaming Oranje meanwhile, made radical changes to their attack, benching both Victorino and Dawson Fernandes, though Boima Karpeh remained the focal point in their attack.
The match started on a slow tempo, as the two sides gauged each other, but the hosts, as expected, got into the groove quicker of the two sides. However they could not make their dominance count. It was Sporting Goa who almost took the lead, when Karpeh turned and took a vicious shot with his left foot, which came back off the post, much to his chagrin.
Clear chances were few and far in-between, and the Goans almost got the next big opportunity to score in the game, but the referee blew his whistle for a foul in a scuffle in Lajong’s box.
While the hosts continued to dominate possession, their fans were stunned into silence in the 39th minute, when Ogba Kalu rose the highest to head home from a Cajetan Fernandes corner, to give Oscar Barreras’ side the lead.
Lajong looked to muster a response immediately afterwards, attacking with gusto, in the hunt for an equalizer.
Boithang Haokip was then brought down just outside the box. The midfielder dusted himself and then promptly took the freekick, only to see his shot come back off the post, much to the agony of the home side’s vociferous supporters.
While Oscar was definitely the more happier of the two coaches going into the half-time, there was plenty of encouragement for Thangboi Singto’s side.
They finally did manage to put the ball in the back of the net in the 55th minute, when Haokip managed to head home a stunning cross from the right by Lallawnzuala. However their celebrations were cut short by the assistant referee’s raised flag for offside.
The quality of the match was sharply affected by the dropping levels of light, with the dip in temperatures, which went down to 15 degree Celsius, also impacting the game.
Eventually the play was stopped in the 72nd minute due to low visibility.
After a considerable delay, while the floodlights were sorted out, the game kicked off again, but the fizz had definitely gone from the game by then.
To add to that, Sporting Goa took every opportunity to slow things down, taking their time during goal kicks and substitutions.
In the end, Lajong could not get back into the groove after the re-start of play, and the Flaming Oranje were able to hold on for their first win of the campaign.
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