Nigerian striker Ranty Martins struck twice as Kolkata giants East Bengal rallied to beat Sporting Clube de Goa 3-1 in their opening match of the I-League at the Nehru Stadium in Margoa on Sunday.
Sporting Clube de Goa, who had a better share of exchanges in the initial period, led 1-0 at the half time through a goal by Odafe Okolie in the 29th minute.
There was no goalmouth thrill as play was confined mostly at the midfield in the dull first half.
East Bengal improved their performance by several notches in the second half and man-of-the-match Ranty Martins (67th and 80th) scored a double to win the match while Bikas Jairu (78th) scored the third to give East Bengal full points.
Both the teams adopted a cautious approach in the first half. Sporting Clube de Goa came up with a couple of good moves before Odafe Okalie put his team ahead in the 29th minute when he dodged past defender Arnab Mondal and Bello Rasaq before essaying an angular shot to find the far corner of the net.
East Bengal could not create impact on the rival defence until coach Biswajit Bhattacharjee introduced Sabeeth Sathyan and Md. Rafique and this provided a thrust in the upfront with Ranty Martins looking dangerous whenever he had the ball with him.
Ranty found the equaliser in the 67th minute when he headed home a cross from Do Donghyun.
The goal acted a perfect tonic for the visitors who kept on attacking and then took the lead in the 78th minute. Bikas Jairu, who intercepted a rival defender’s pass, laid the ball to Ranty who unleashed a firm left-footer to find the top of the net.
Ranty finally took the game away from the home side’s reach when he chested a long lob from Sehnaj Singh before finding the net with a right footer to give his team full points.