Sporting Clube upset Mahindra 1-0; move into 2nd place in NFL
Mumbai, Mar 26 (UNI) A 55th minute strike from top of the box by substitute Chidi Edeh gave Sporting Clube de Goa an upset solitary goal to win over Mahindra United in the ninth round NFL match at the Cooperage ground here today.
With this win Sporting Clube moved ahead of East Bengal into second place with 16 points from nine matches, while Mahindra United continued to top the the table with 19 points from eight matches.
The match started off slowly with both teams looking to assess the opposition, before the home team exploded, attacking the rival citadel time and again.
Mahindra United's strikers' lacked the finishing ability chances went abegging drowing their hope to win this tie by a huge margin.
The hosts should have been up by a goal in the 20th minute but Jose Barreto, the leading scorer of this year's league with four goals, messed up an easy chance with an empty goal in front of him.
Barreto, instead of taking the strike himself, passed the ball onto Yusif Yakubu, who was found to be in an off-side position.
A few minutes later Sporting Clube had a chance to go ahead when Dudu Omagbemi passed on to Nicolau Borges. The latter's strike was well stopped by a defender.
Rauf Khan then nearly put Mahindra United ahead with his pile driver from about 35 yards out which tested the rival goalkeeper Luis Barretto who managed to parry the ball away to safety.
Jose Barreto then had another chance on the stroke of half time but his header went just over the goal post to keep the score at 0-0 at haftime.
Chidi Edeh, who was brought on in place of Rajesh Meetei towards the end of the first half, showed his skills as he got through the Mahindra defence time and again Dudu Omagbemi showed perfect understanding with his strike partner to trouble the hosts defence. Sporting Clube then in the 55th minute took the lead through Chidi Edeh who unleashed a powerful left footer from top of the box which beat goalkeeper Sandip Nandy all ends up to put the Goan team ahead.
Four minutes later Dudu Omagbemi was in the thick of things with his left footer just missing the mark, as the Goan team piled on the pressure on Mahindra.
In the 62nd minute Dudu Omagbemi once again beat the rival defence but was unlucky as the ball hit the goal post to deny him and his team another goal.
Mahindra on the other hand tried their best for an equaliser, but with Jose Barreto missing the chances and Yusif Yakubu off colour today, most of their moves could not be converted into the equaliser they were searching for.
Mahindra were also unlucky with the refereeing as the referee disallowed a perfectly legitimate shout for a penalty but instead gave a yellow card to the Mahindra player for faking a dive in the penalty area.
Yakubu, who had been having an average match so far, suddenly showed his skills as he dribbled past a couple of defenders and went into the penalty box where he was clearly fouled and brought down.
However, the referee saw it otherwise and gave the decision instead in favour of the Sporting Clube in the 73rd minute.
This was sweet revenge for the Goan side as they had lost to Mahindra on their home ground in the earlier match.