Sporting Clube De Goa showed a true fighting spirit as they came from behind twice to beat Mumbai FC 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. Mumbai FC went ahead twice riding on a Sushil Kumar (17’&57’) brace while Odafa Okolie set up Nicholas Fernandes in the 25th minute and added the next two (74’ & 86’) himself from the spot to give Sporting their first 3 points at home.
The Flaming Oranje Gaffer Mateus Costa shuffled the team a bit from the last match as he handed starts to Ganesh Thakur, Marcus Mascarenhas and Mehrajuddin Wadoo while Dharmaraj Ravanan was back in the side after serving his one match ban. Mumbai FC came into the match with the same squad from their previous match.
As expected it was always going to be Sporting attack versus Mumbai defense and it was visible as early as 4 minutes into the game when Sporting skipper Odafa launched bullet from a free kick which was well defended by Mumbai to only find Loveday taking an ambitious shot off the rebound from outside the box almost scoring on that occasion. About 10 minutes later Odafa once again send in a fantastic through ball spotting the run made by Ganesh Thakur who saw his attempt bravely saved by the charging Pawan Kumar.
In spite of all the attack in the Mumbai half it was the visitors who drew the first blood through Sushil Kumar who managed to reach out and squeeze in a goal off a corner kick to give Khalid and company the lead. However the joy was short lived as in the 24th minute Odafa muscled through a wave of defenders surrounding him to set Nicholas up beautifully and the latter was never missing that one. The match stayed 1-1 at half time.
Resuming the second half Sporting picked up from where they stopped and took the attack right into the Mumbai box. The building pressure soon showed cracks as Odafa tricked Anwar onto a handball but couldn’t convince the referee who instead awarded just a corner in favour of Sporting. However once again Mumbai were ahead when Arata’s counter attack found Sushil at the end. Taking advantage of Arandim coming forward Sushil placed the ball well making it 2-1 in favour of the visitors.
The second goal meant Mateus Costa had to try something new and as expected he unleashed the best weapon in his arsenal through Victorino Fernandes who came in for Ganesh. His introduction showed an instant impact when Odafa smartly took a quick free kick finding Victorino in the right position who’s first touch could have been a goal to remember. By now it was pretty clear that Sporting were going all out at this.
In the 74th minute Glan Martins made a dazzling run into the box only to find himself being brought down. The referee who had a clear view of the proceedings without hesitation pointed towards the spot. The Skipper stepped up to the occasion displaying great composure to score from the spot under pressure putting things back on level terms. Coming back into the game Sporting went full throttle launching waves of attack while Khalid and company were clearly running out of ideas. In the 86th minute Odafa once again muscled past 3 defenders into the box, a panicked Mumbai defense lost their cool brining the skipper down while conceding their second penalty of the evening. Once again Odafa stayed calm sending Pawan Kumar the wrong side and putting Sporting ahead for the first time in the match.
The closing stages saw both teams make some attempts but Sporting had locked up their defense well and played some sensible football towards the added time making it impossible for Mumbai FC to cause any real danger. With this win Sporting climb two spots to reach 4th on the table with 11 points while Mumbai come down to 5th.