After a goal-less first half, Rovan Perreira's second half goal proved to be the difference between the two sides...An late goal by Rovan Pereira proved to be the difference, as Sporting Clube de Goa edged past Churchill Brothers SC in a round 19 I-League match played at the Duler Stadium in Goa, on Friday.
Oscar Barreras handed his second Spaniard recruit, Juan Fransico Garcia Pena (Juanfri) his I-League debut, while Angel Berlanga was included for his second successive match at the expense of Keita Boubacar, who was released from the club.
On the other side, with the departure of Bilal Najjarine, Mariano Dias started with both Henri Antchouet and Akram Moghrabi in the attack with Roberto Mendes Silva (Beto) playing behind the duo.
While the Flaming Oranje's new recruit Juanfri took some time to find his feet and create space for himself, once he settled, the former Malaga striker began spraying few passes around.
It took until 25 minutes for Churchill Brothers to create their first chance, when Beto's pass found Antchouet on the right, over two opposition defenders, but the Gabonese striker only managed to shoot wide.
A minute earlier, Berlanga had headed out a Pratesh Shirodkar flag-kick, while in the 26th minute, there was a penalty call. In fairness however, it did appear as if Sporting defender Joyner Lourenco got more of the ball than Moghrabi's feet.
The only other chance that fell to Sporting was when Juanfri's low header flew inches wide of Sandip Nandy's right post, after Jovel Martins' cross took a deflection from his Sporting team-mate Angel Berlanga during the injury time of the first half.
As play resumed, a moment that involved lack of communication between Churchill keeper Sandip Nandy and Ravanan Dharmaraj saw Rojen Singh's pass slip through, but neither Juanfri nor Victorino were able to keep the same in play, as the ball rolled out.
In the 49th minute, Ravanan Dharmaraj picked his second yellow for his tackle on Sporting striker Victorino Fernandes and Barreras' side obliviously went in for the kill with a man extra, however their profligacy in front of goal left much to be desired.
One of Shirodkar's free-kick crossed the face of the Churchill goal-mouth and somehow missed everyone of Joyner, Berlanga and Rojen on the far side in the 54th minute.
In another move, Rojen Singh's delivery inside the Churchill box was chested down by Sporting substitute Rovan Pereira while Kalu blasted his volley wide from the same opportunity in the 67th minute, before the Nigerian hit another shot wide from a Shirodkar cross.
Kalu's ball towards Sporting substitute Seiya Sugishita then saw the Japanese manage to push the ball wide to his left for fellow substitute Rovan Pereira, who slotted the ball past Churchill keeper Sandip Nandy in the 83rd minute to claim the winner.
With this result, Sporting Clube de Goa have moved to eighth on the table with 20 points from 18 games. Meanwhile with 38 points from 17 matches, Churchill Brothers are just two points above East Bengal who have a match against Pailan Arrows on Saturday.
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