I-League: Dempo win against Churchill Brothers
Ryuji Sueoka scored a brace of goals as Dempo Sports Club laboured to a 2-1 win over Churchill Brothers Sports Club in the opening match of the I-League at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Saturday.
The Japanese striker had provided Dempo with a second lead, but when Brazilian striker Roberto Mendes da Silva restored parity for Churchill a minute after resumption, Sueoka was at it again, as he scored a stunning goal in the 74th minute.
Dempo surged ahead in the second minute as Sueoka got on to the right side of a pass from Clifford Miranda. Churchill goalkeeper Sandip Nandy should have done better in that situation but instead he could only watch helplessly.
In the second session, Churchill got the rewards for their spirited efforts. Tomba Singh's long ranger was parried away by Dempo goalkeeper Subhashish Roy Chowdhury but Beto had, by then, done well to follow up and give his team the equalizer with a simple tap.
Churchill had done well to deny Dempo the ball but the defending champions had the last laugh when Sueoka fended off challenge from Denzil Franco and D Ravanan to stretch full length and give finishing touches to a measured cross from Anthony.
Image: Churchill Brother's Beto (centre)
Arrows start campaign with a win
Playing true to their form Pailan Arrows began the I-League venture with a win when they edged past visitor Mumbai FC 3-2 at the Salt Lake stadium in Kolkata, on Saturday.
Mumbai FC successfully made a late charge and worked up a lead erasing a goal's deficit, in the first half. Arrows drew the first blood in the 34th minute when Holicharan Narzary made the most of a mistake by the Mumbai FC custodian Sanjiban Ghosh.
The Arrows striker got the opportunity after Ghosh spilled an easy catch off a feeble grounder from Arrows' medio Avinabo Bag. Khalid Jamil's side regrouped after conceding the goal and found its efforts paying off in the 39th minute. The equaliser came off another goalkeeping error.
ND Opara, who was lurking nearby, slotted the free ball home. James Singh put Mumbai FC in the lead in 45th minute off a 30-yard pile-driver, that went in past a diving Ravi Kumar.
Captain Milan Singh scored from the spot to make it 2-2 for Arrows.
Ravi Kumar saved a sharp header from ND Opara in the 73rd minute to preserve the scoreline before his counterpart in the Mumbai FC goal Sanjiban committed a silly error sending an attempted clearance to an unmarked Holicharan inside own box. The Arrows gleefully accepted the 75th minute gift and made no mistake in finding the Mumbai FC net.
Image: Mumbai FC's James Singh (centre) with Pailan Arrow's Allwyn George (right)
United Sikkim FC get better of Salgaocar
Debutants United Sikkim FC came back from one goal down twice to upset established I-League side Salgaocar 3-2 in a thrilling match at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.
After a dull first 45 minutes, the game exploded in second half when Angel Guirado gave the Goan club the lead in the 50th minute. A horrific misunderstanding between United Sikkim goalkeeper Yoon Tae and his defender allowed Aldecuer to head in a rebound from two yards out.
Nurudeen Salau sent home the loose ball and equalize for United Sikkim.
Even before the 12,000 odd home supporters could finish celebrating the first I-League goal of United Sikkim, Salgaocar took the lead for the second time in 56th minute.
A quickly taken free kick beat an unprepared United Sikkim defence and goalkeeper but hit the post. Milagres Gonsalves was at the correct place to capitalize on the rebound and make the score 2-1 in favour of Salgaocar.
United Sikkim, playing in I-League for the first time, refused to concede defeat and left winger Lineker Machado equalized with a fine strike in the 64th minute.
Boosted by a boisterous home crowd, United Sikkim then took the lead in the 75th minute when defender Sandesh Jhingan rose highest to head an Ashish Chettri free kick.
Also, Shillong Lajong FC kicked off its campaign in a style after it humbled countries oldest club Mohun Bagan 2-0here at JN Sports Complex.
It was the tourist who had better ball possession but unfit Odafa and Tolgay, who are recovering from the injury failed to capitalize the opportunity.