Gokulam hold Sporting 2-2, enter semis
Substitute Shihad scores last-minute equaliser in thriller at Duler to knock Flaming Oranje out
Story: the goan | network | 13th September 2017, 07:09 Hrs
Gokulam FC scored a last-minute equaliser against Sporting Clube de Goa to advance and complete the semi-final line-up in the 1st AWES Cup, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Tuesday.
The Kerala side were trailing 1-2 with just a minute on the clock and the Flaming Oranje looked like a safe bet to go through to the semi-finals with six points from two matches. Substitute Shihad N then turned home a ball in the dying minute and Gokulam celebrated their ‘triumph' as the match ended 2-2.
Sporting Clube needed a win to qualify for the semi-finals from the group, while Gokulam needed only a point, thanks to their better goal average resulting from a 5-0 drubbing of Vasco Sports Club. Sporting Clube had managed a 5-1 win in their opening match against Vasco. Gokulam FC will now meet Salgaocar FC in the second semi-final on Friday.
Gokulam took the lead in the seventh minute through Adelaja Somide. The Nigerian striker had scored a hat-trick in the opener and was on target again as he capitalised on a defensive lapse to drill home the opener in the seventh minute.
Sporting Clube regrouped and took control of the match and it was only a matter of time before they equalised. The equaliser came in the 19th minute when Cajetan Fernandes floated a long ball to Victorino Fernandes. The Sporting captain controlled the ball and laid the ball for George D'Souza who finished it off with a powerful in-stepper that gave no chance to the rival goalkeeper. The teams were tied 1-1 at
In the second session, Sporting Clube took an unexpected lead, capitalising on a blunder from the Gokulam defence as goalkeeper Ajmal PA clashed with defender Ugochukwu Godswill, allowing substitute Marcus Mascarenhas a chance to slot the ball home.
It looked like the goal would be enough for Sporting Clube to qualify for the semi-finals but Gokulam persisted and finally scored the equalising goal in the 90th minute. From a ball that was lobbed inside the danger zone, Sporting failed to clear quickly and Bijesh TB's attempt was deflected off Shihad into the goal from close range.