Oscar Bruzon's side downed Armando Colaco's star studded outfit in a thrilling game at Manjeri...
Oscar Bruzon made wholesale changes to his line-up to the one which started against Bengaluru FC. Arturo Garcia was left out due to an injury suffered in the last game while defenders Matthew Gonsalves, Deepak Devrani and midfielder Rojen Singh were benched. Victorino Fernandes and Beevan D’Mello, who scored a goal in the previous game, defenders Joyner Lourenco and Rovan Pereira made their way in.
Armando Colaco brought in the impressive Cavin Lobo for the injured Joaquim Abranches while Arnab Mondal came in for Naoba Singh.
It was the Flaming Oranje who started the better of the two sides and were looking to build-up from the flanks. However East Bengal remained alert and foiled most of their moves with Harmanjot Khabra playing the destroyer in the middle of the park.
The opening goal came in the 18th minute when Victorino Fernandes headed home from Rowllin Borges’ cross with goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu failing to judge the flight of the ball.
Ryuji Sueoka should have done better from Harmanjot Khabra’s corner-kick as his shot went sailing over the bar.
It was the Goan outfit who dominated possession but failed to create chances while the Red and Gold continued to spurn opportunities that came their way.
Around the hour mark, James Moga got into the act when he was in a one-on-one situation and after managing to turn the goalkeeper; his shot struck the crossbar, much to the disappointment of Armando Colaco.
After the break, the Kolkata outfit started better of the two sides as they mounted the pressure on Sporting.
Referee Pratap Singh pointed towards the spot when from the middle Khabra was tackled inside the box by goalkeeper Ravi Kumar. Sueoka’s spot-kick towards the right of the custodian saw the latter guess it right but still couldn’t stop the equalizer.
Sporting’s next chance came in the 65th minute when Beevan shot wide from inside the box after being set up by Victorino.
Moga failed to direct his header from a cross in the 76th minute and four minutes later, he was twice denied by Ravi Kumar. Sueoka set him up and Moga’s weak shot saw Kumar block and off the rebound, the South Sudanese’s attempt was fisted away yet again.
Luck wasn’t favouring Moga who turned the marker for the second time after receiving a ball from Sueoka but his shot hit the inside of the post in the 82nd minute.
East Bengal were made to pay for their squandered opportunities dearly as Victorino gave Sporting the lead.
Substitute Stephene Barreto put in a pinpoint cross from the right which saw Beevan’s first time right footed effort find the back of the net in the 85th minute.
Sporting continued to keep the ball and deny the Red and Gold a chance to comeback into the tie to register their first win in the competition.
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