One act of sheer brilliance, a little bit of luck and some unimaginative play by their opponents ensured Sporting Clube de Goa kicked off their campaign in the 122nd Durand Cup on a winning note.
Junior Elijah Obagbemiro put the Goans ahead when he emerged from nowhere to tap the ball in with his left foot.
The match also saw two players — Sporting's Chandrashekhar Chinta and Assam Rifles' Bulu Jigdung —being sent off after Chinta brought Michael Tayo down in the 78th minute.
But much before that, Wilton Gomes scythed through the Assam Rifles defence from the right and delivered an incisive cross to Obagbemiro who did not falter. Leading by a goal, Sporting went on the offensive and nearly found their second goal, but Obagbemiro's diving header off Joseph Pereira's cross missed the target by a whisker.
Sporting continued their domination by constantly harassing the opponents' defence and the ball, for major part of the first half, remained in Assam Rifles' half. Fortunes didn't swing much in the second half although Assam Rifles enjoyed a fair share of possession and even made a few attempts at the goal. There were half chances galore, which Assam Rifles failed to convert.
Woodwork did them in on more than three occasions, with Rifles' forward line — comprising Akum Ao and Abel Sema — being unlucky to miss out on the target. Sema hit the upright twice and Ao was guilty of missing a header halfway through the second half.
Assam Rifles conceded the second goal just before the final whistle when Obagbemiro scored from the spot after K Naoba Singh tripped the Nigerian inside the box.
If their showing in the second half was any indication, then Sporting, clubbed with Churchill Brothers in Group A, will have their task cut out.