Millennium Post

Sprited Sporting hold East Bengal

Sporting Clube de Goa put up a gritty performance to hold Federation Cup champions East Bengal to a goal-less draw in their opening encounter of the I-League football tournament at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Sunday.

Sporting Clube, with all local players, played their hearts out against East Bengal as they held the ball for long with quick short passes though they could not penetrate inside the the rival defence where Uga Okpara stood tall. Whenever they created chances, they failed to find their shots on target or rival keeper Abhjit Mondal brought off good saves. However, their best chance came in the 39th minute when Rojen Singh from the left sent a lob into the box where defender Uga Okpara failed to put the ball out to safety and Dawson Fernandes, who was free inside the box with only keeper to beat, put the ball out. East Bengal surprisingly looked a subdued side as they played a waiting game and tried to beat the rival defence on the counter with long ball.

A 10-man Prayag United SC showed great resilience to crush a full-strength Air India 5-1 in another first round match of played in Kolkata. Nigerian striker Ranti Martins, playing his first I-League match after his switch-over from Dempo, scored the first hat trick of the tournament while K Asif and CK Vineeth completed the rout.
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