THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

I-League: Sporting and Prayag Utd split points



James Moga proved to be Sporting Clube de Goa’s saviour as the South Sudan striker headed twice to rescue a point for the hosts against Prayag United 2-2 at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.

The South Sudan striker, making his debut for Sporting Clube, twice cancelled Ghanaian striker Yakubu Yusif’s goals for Prayag United. The teams shared a goal apiece at the change of ends.

Sporting Clube started strongly from among the two teams as Prayag took time to settle down. Moga first tested Chirag goalkeeper Abhijit Mondal with a fierce free-kick which Mondal, somehow, managed to tip away for an abortive freekick. Hardly had that scare passed away, young Victorino Fernandes — among the three young debutants for Sporting Clube — went close with an attempt from an acute angle.

Prayag broke Sporting’s back with only their first move, although they took ten agonising minutes for that. Kayne Vincent, starting because of an injury to Brazilian Joshimar Martins, slipped in a through ball to Yakubu, who controlled it, left three defenders on his trail and toed the ball past the outstretched hands of Sporting Clube goalkeeper Milagrio Medeira.

Sporting had more of the ball but chances were few and far between. The hosts got the equaliser in the 33rd minute when Moga, sandwiched between two Prayag markers, rose above them to head a well-measured cross from Boboi Singh.

Immediately after the start of the second session, Sporting had their first chance to surge ahead when Ogba Kalu lofted an over-head pass to Moga, but the striker’s hasty attempt sailed over the crossbar.

At the other end, Prayag seemed happy to play a counter-attacking game but with Kayne Vincent off-colour, none of their good moves could translate into goals. Until, Malsawmthulunga (Mama) played a delightful one-two with Yakubu who, for the second time in the match, left Sporting’s defenders flabbergasted with deft ball-skills and a cool finish in the 77th minute.

The lead, though, did not last for long as Sporting Clube clawed their way back into the game. Moga was at it again, this time heading Freiman Peixoto’s cross from the right into the top corner of the nets.

Neither team would have been happy with the end-result but given the circumstances none of them would grudge the point either.


(AIFF Press Release)