Margao: Sporting Clube de Goa came from behind to hold East Bengal to a 1-1 draw in the opening encounter of the two teams in the I-league football tournament, here on Sunday.
East Bengal, who dominated the first half took the lead 7th minute through Ranti Martins. Sporting Clube de Goa worked hard in the latter part of the second session and some momentary lapse of concentration from the red and gold defence helped them to restore parity in the 79th minute through Kalu Ogba in what turned out to be an exciting encounter.
Sporting's striker Anthony Wolfe who worked upfront was declared the 'Man of the Match'.
Both the teams missing their key striker due to injury, Victorino Fernandes for Sporting, while Dudu Omagbemi for East Bengal.
East Bengal were looking to set aside their defeat against Sporting Clube de Goa in the Federation Cup started in right earnest as they made inroad with quick short passes followed by long ball into the rival box were looking for an early goal, took the lead in the 7th minute.
Cavin Lobo from the left set up Ranti Martins with a through pass that split the rival defence. Ranti sprinted down into the box taking couple of rival players in his stride and after beating the onrushing keeper Ravi Kumar, found the net from an acute angle.
In the second half, Sporting's coach Mateus Costa brought in couple of fresh pair of legs and they were constantly looking in search of the equalizer finally restored parity in the 79th minute when Kalu Ogba who was put through into the box by Rowlin Borges beat keeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury with a deft placement.
Sporting got charged up after the goal as they were all over the rival goal and nearly scored the winner in the dying minutes when Mauvin Borges at the goal was saved by keeper Chowdhury.
The last 10 minutes were thrilling with both the team going all out attack and East Bengal nearly scored deep in th injuy time when Ranti Martins attempt at the goal from close was saved on from the goalline by a rival defender as the ball hit the upright and went out to have both the team splitting points.