PANAJI: Substitute Victorino Fernandes came off the bench to equalise for Sporting Clube de Goa as they drew 1-1 with 10 men East Bengal in their opening group match of the Federation Cup at Silliguri, West Bengal on Friday. East Bengal led through an Edeh Chidi penalty at the breather.
East Bengal were reduced to ten men in the final five minutes when Mehtab Hussein was given marching orders after his second caution of the game.
Sporting went into attacking mode from the outset, forcing a corner within the first two minutes, but they failed to capitalise from the flag kick.
In the seventh minute Sporting’s Rowlin Borges was adjudged to have brought down Penn Orji inside the box and the referee wasted no time in pointing to the spot. From the resultant penalty, former Sporting Clube de Goa striker Edeh Chidi managed to stroke the ball in to put East Bengal ahead early in the match.
East Bengal continued to threaten with Chidi and Naoba coming close but were put under immense pressure and crowded out on approaching the Sporting’s goal area.
In the second session Sporting started to look dangerous with most of their raids coming from the wings. A looping cross from Dawson was cleared for a corner by an East Bengal defender. Moments later Jovel Martins came close for the Goan side. With seventeen minutes left on the clock, Sporting introduced Victorino Fernandes in place of Dawson Fernandes, and within ten minutes of his entry Victorino made his presence felt as he latched onto a pass from Jovel Martins to place home the vital equaliser for Sporting Clube de Goa.
The goal brought an exciting end to the proceedings as both teams went all out for the winner. The referee added on five clinical minutes of added time but in the end both teams had to settle for a point.