Panjim : In a clash that witnessed 3 red cards and 8 yellow cards, the referee hogged the limelight for some dodgy decisions as 9-man Salgaocar FC went down fighting to 10-man Sporting Clube de Goa 2-3 in the AIFF U-18 I-League. Sporting led 2-1 at the breather. With this result Sporting are on par with Salgaocar on 10 points, although the Greens have a game in hand and have a superior head to head record and goal difference.
Sporting playing in their own backyard, started the brighter of the 2 sides and earned the first corner of the game as Akhiraj Martins chased down a long ball that was cleared to safety by Daniel Gomes. The Flaming Oranje earned another corner 5 minutes later and Clive Miranda rose highest but headed wide the delivery of skipper Moises D’sa. Minutes later, Salgaocar’s midfielder par excellence, Stephen Satardekar displayed some exquisite close ball control to beat a host of players around him before finding Lalit Tariyal wide on the left, the latter’s weak cross eventually dealt by the Sporting defense.
Sporting could have broken the deadlock immediately thereafter as a long ball played out of defense by Lalbabu Mahto saw Darryl Costa through on goal but Jeet Gupta playing his first game of the tournament in place of Antonio D’Silva was quick to come off his line and narrow the angle, pulling off a brilliant save in the bargain.
The ball was mostly confined to the midfield for the better part of the next quarter of an hour with Sporting controlling the game and earning 2 free-kicks in dangerous positions on the edge of the Salgaocar box, both well dealt with by the Salgaocar defense, although Karan Shirodkar and Daniel Gomes picked up yellow cards for their troubles in the process. In the 25th minute of play, Salgaocar had a great opportunity as a header out by Clive Miranda landed at the feet of Stephen who failed to find Ruflan with his through ball, the pass intercepted by Clive who recovered well.
Sporting did manage to break the deadlock at the half hour mark as Jesmon Soares found Harshad Naik in the box with a long diagonal ball from the left. The last named let fly and the ball came off the underside of the crossbar and came off and Akhiraj Marints to give the Flaming Oranje the lead. Four minutes later Jeet did well yet again to come off his line to deny Darryl Costa. Sporting did however double their lead in the 37th minute as Schubert D’Costa found Harshad Naik wide on the right, the last named sending in a low cross that was finished calmly by Darryl Costa.
Salgaocar did however pull one back a couple of minutes later as a free-kick on the left that came about as a result of Lalit Tariyal being tripped, saw Sanson Pereira wip in the delivery to the far post for skipper Denil Rebello to smartly head back towards goal. Stephen Satardekar who was lurking very unselfishly cushioned the header for Lalit Tariyal to bury home.
The Greens did have a very good shout for a penalty in the 44th minute as Denil Rebello’s effort from inside the box was goal-bound and came off a defender’s hand but the appeals were waived off by the referee.
IN the second half, Salgaocar came out all firing on all cylinders, looking for the equaliser. Much against the run of play however, in the 59th minute Sporting retained their 2-goal advantage as Akhiraj Martins was adjudged to have been brought down by Saurabh Patil. Jesmon Soares who stepped up to take the spot-kick struck low to the keeper’s right to find the back of the net.
In the 67th minute Salgaocar skipper Denil Rebello can feel aggrieved for being sent off for a second booking, the first only 5 minutes earlier, both for appealing the decisions on behalf of his team. That was to set the tone for what was to follow as tackles kept flying in with the referee seemingly having lost control of the game. In the 74th minute Salgaocar had another man sent off, this time it was the turn of Daniel Gomes to receive his second caution of the evening. The tackle having come right in front of the Sporting bench saw the Sporting substitutes pounce on Daniel who was on the floor, sparking off a physical clash between players of both sides. Sporting’s Delbert who had come on as a substitute only 10 minutes earlier, was already on a booking for a few rash tackles and was the next man to be sent off for a lunging tackle that caught Salgaocar’s Stephen.
It was all Salgaocar in the final 10 minutes of the game as they attacked relentlessly. Substitute Ronaldo Oliveira saw wide with 6 minutes of normal time remaining. 2 minutes later Salgaocar did pull one back as substitute Liston Colaco’s fine free-kick after he had been tripped on the edge of the box saw the Sporting keeper Sherwin Da Cunha pull off a fine save but Lalit Tariyal was quickest to react and slotted home the rebound for his second of the evening.
Salgaocar could have equalised with virtually the last kick of the game but Ronaldo was unable to get any power or direction as he tried to head home a fine cross by Liston.