" In reply, Australia chased down the target with ease, reaching home with seven wickets…
Before the tournament began, Sporting Clube de Goa was among the favourites for the title. On Friday, the team finally registered its first win in four games, struggling to make the semifinals.
With a comprehensive 5-1 win against Gangtok Himalayan, Sporting finally played like the experienced side it was expected to, on the attack from the word go and keeping up the pressure all through.
It opened up the game when Gangtok began cramping it for space and switched flanks whenever the opposition closed ranks.
Cajetan Fernandes headed in a Harpreet Singh corner in the 5th minute and Marcus Mascarenhas doubled it in identical fashion 12 minutes later. Ganesh Thakur was exceptional on the wings, setting up Victorino Fernandes for the third and scoring himself the fourth goal as Sporting went 4-1 up at the break.
Victorino added another as Sporting kept up the pressure in second half as well and even though Gangtok tried its best to break past, the margin was too big for the Sikkim boys.
In the other Pool A match played at the Harbaksh Stadium, Minerva FC and Army Green played out a 2-2 draw with Minerva earning its first points of the tournament after two consecutive losses.
However, former India international Clifford Miranda was ruled out of the remaining Minerva games after suffering a concussion and administered 11 stitches on the forehead.
In Pool B, the stadium saw the biggest crowd of the competition so far with both the teams from North-East — Aizawl FC and Neroca FC — egged on by their vociferous supporters.
The traditional rivalry between Mizoram and Manipur on the football field was visible in the game as well with both teams going all out from the word go in the north-east derby.
David Lalbiakzara struck for Neroca FC early, scoring in the 11th minute, and the club managed to hang on to the slender lead at half time.
Ironically, Lalbiakzara belongs to Mizoram but signed up for Neroca earlier this year.
Despite repeated attacks from Aizawl, the Imphal side managed to hang on with some desperate defending from goalkeeper and captain Lalit Thapa to win by the lone goal and go top of the pool with seven points as Aizawl suffered its first loss in three games.
Pool B: Neroca FC 1 (David Lalbiakzara) bt Aizwal FC 0; Pool A: Minerva FC 2 (Marcus J. Lopez) drew with Army Green 2 (Linesh PV, PC Lallawmkina); SC Goa 5 (Victorino Fernandes 2, Cajetan Fernandes, Marcus Mascarenhas, Ganesh Thakur) bt Gangtok Himalayan 1 (Rishabh Sharma).