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I-League: Sporting rally from behind to down Mahindra

Source: PTI
May 04, 2010 21:25 IST
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Sporting Clube de Goa fought back strongly in the second half to beat Mahindra United 3-2 and kept their hopes of avoiding relegation alive in a round 24 I-League match at Nehru Stadium in Margao on Tuesday.

The local outfit, who dominated the ball possession and created several chances, scored through substitute Nathaniel Amos (37th), Junior Obagbemiro (75th) and Adil Khan (80th).

Mahindra, who lacked the force to punch a hole in the rival defence, capitalised on defensive lapses in the first half through Sushil Kumar Shinde (22nd) and Mohammed Rafi (42nd).

The win takes Sporting to 24 points from as many matches, the same as Salgaocar, but they are lying at the bottom on account of inferior goal difference.

On the other hand, Mahindra remained on second place with 38 points from 24 matches. Both the teams played attacking game and Mahindra was first to open the account, scoring in the 22nd minute from a penalty.

Rafi, who was dangerously moving with the ball inside the box, was brought down by Rovan Pereira from behind.

Referee Andrew Shekar awarded the penalty to Mahindra which was converted by Shinde beating custodian Felix to his right. Sporting, after missing two close chances, restored parity in the 37th minute.

Obagbemiro initiated the move and relayed the ball to Pereira, who sent a perfect cross into the box for the tall substitute Amos who headed the ball into the net.

Sporting defence faltered and gifted a goal when they failed to set the off side trap and defenders Felip Gomes and Adil allowed Rafi to sneak into the box and score off a long lob from K Ajayan.

Mahindra slowed down in the second half after taking the lead, allowing the local club to dictate terms and restore parity in 75th minute through Obagbemiro.

Five minutes later, Sporting scored the winner through Adil, who was adjudged man of the match.

Viva Kerala scrape through

Hosts Viva Kerala managed to get a lifeline, defeating Lajong FC, Shillong 2-1 in their last leg home ground match of the ONGC I-League football tournament in Kozhikode.

The Kerala team, placed at 11th spot after 24 rounds, bettered chances to be in contention saving themselves from relegation, with two more matches to be played later this month.

Viva Kerala scored the first goal through P Rahul, who slotte in a pass from Sirajuddeen, after wasting two golden chances to strike in the initial minutes of play.

In the second half, the Kerala team struck again through C S Sabeeth off a lovely pass from T Karma at the 53rd minute.

Barely two minutes later, the Shillong team got one back off James Gbilee. Viva Kerala next take on on Mohun Bagan, Kolkata, in their last home ground match here on May 11.

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