All goals were scored in the first half in which Sporting's Japanese striker played a role in both of the home side's goals...Sporting Clube de Goa defeated United Sikkim FC 2-1 in a round six encounter of the I-League played at the Fatorda stadium in Goa, on Sunday evening.
Seiya Sugishita scored as early as 10 minutes before Ogba Kalu Nnanna (15') doubled the home side's lead, while Sandesh Jhingan (45') scored for the visitors.
Ekendra Singh handed Japanese striker Seiya Sugishita his first I-League start along-side Nigerian Anoure Obiora Richard, with Pratesh Shirodkar and Joseph Pereira on either wings, while Keita Boubacar was left on the bench.
United Sikkim's Bhaichung Bhutia placed himself on the bench for his first match as interim coach, with Anwar Ali at the heart of the defense, while Michael Rodriguez drove the midfield and provided support for strikers Nurudden Salau and Nadong Bhutia.
After a couple of exchanges on the pitch, it was Sporting who surged ahead in the 10th minute as Seiya Sugishita scored on his maiden I-League appearance after the Japanese noded in Joseph Pereira's cross from the left.
Five minutes later, it was 2-0 as Sugishita turned provider with a neat pass to Ogba Kalu Nnanna in midfield. The latter sent a stiff grounder past United Sikkim keeper Yoon Tae from about 25 yards out.
United Sikkim skipper Anwar Ali then almost conceded an own goal as his attempt to clear Pratesh Shirodkar's cross nearly resulted in him diverting the ball into his own net in the 19th minute.
In another chance for the hosts, United Sikkim keeper Tae was already well-beaten by Dawson Fernandes' cross, but Joseph Pereira's slip in the box meant that Sporting lost yet another opportunity to score their third goal by the 28th minute.
About ten minutes later, Tae charged out to block Sugishita's shot after the Flaming Oranje's striker was set-up by Dawson in the 37th minute, before the away side pulled back a goal.
Michael Rodriguez' free-kick was tapped in by Sandesh Jhingan after an initial header was saved by the Sporting keeper Gerard D'Mello. The half-time score hence read 2-1 in favour of Ekendra Singh's side.
Bhaichung Bhutia's inclusion as well failed to provide any spark in an other-wise dull affair after the half time.
With the win, Sporting now have seven points from six matches, while United Sikkim are stuck on four points from six their games.
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