Margao: A nine-man Salgaocar showed great character to avenge their first leg loss as they defeated Sporting Clube de Goa 2-1 to move to third place in the round 20 I-League match at Fatorda on Sunday.
Sporting, who held better ball possession in both halves, ultimately paid the price for failing to make the most of their chances, even as the rival defense put up a stout display despite lacking the numerical strength.
Sporting gained the numerical advantage midway in the second half as defender Rahul Kumar was shown the red card for tripping down dangerously Kalu Ogba from behind in the 75th minute and two minutes later medio Ishaf Ahmed got his second booking which saw Salgaocar down to nine men.
Sporting also wasted a penalty after Rahul Kumar brought down Kalu, who himself took the penalty shot wide off the mark.
Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa was also sent off from the bench after he had a heated argument with the fourth referee.
Earlier, Salgaocar, who were looking to continue their upward march, started well and took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Edeh Chidi, who found a loose ball inside the box took a shot which rival keeper Ashok Singh blocked and off the rebound, Beevan D`Mello shot home from inside the box.
Salgaocar lost control of the proceedings as their midfield and upfront failed to link up in the absence of Ryuji Sueoka, who did not play due to double booking.
Sporting took over the proceedings and probed in the rival half and had two clear chances to restore parity.
Jovel Martins who was given easy run on the left sent a deep cross into the box for James Moga, who shot out in the 32nd minute.
Four minutes later, Dawson Fernandes had a great chance to equalise as he only had to tap the ball from close off a Freiman Peixoto pass, which came to him via Jovel Martins cross but Dawson instead shot wide out.
Changing over, Sporting continued to dictate terms and came close to scoring on a number of occasions.
Salgaocar, who were put on the backfoot, came with a counter move and increased their lead in the 65th minute.
Ishfaq Ahmed from the left relayed the ball to a free Tomba Singh on the left and the latter essayed a shot from 40 yards that found the far corner of the net.
A minute later, Sporting reduced the margin, as a move on the left saw Freiman Peixoto sending a cross on top of the box to James Moga, who chested the ball and allowed Kalu Ogba to take a shot which found the net.
The goal spurred Sporting who went all out in search of the equaliser and Mackroy Peixoto nearly scored but for keeper Karanjit Singh, who brilliantly blocked his fierce shot from top of the box.
Despite the setbacks, the Salgaocar defense put up a solid fight to ward any possible threat and emerge victors.
The win takes Salgaocar to third place, displacing East Bengal with 36 points from 20 matches, one point behind second placed Mohun Bagan and seven behind leaders Dempo.
Following the defeat, Sporting remained on 30 points from 20 matches.