Ravshan Teshabaev scored late into the second-half to give Vasco a 1-0 victory over Oil India in the 30th Federation Cup at the Vidyasagar Krirangan in Barasat on Tuesday.
The victory kept Vasco's hopes alive in the tournament. The Goa team's fate now depends on the other Group C match between Mohun Bagan and Air India.
Vasco may be languishing at the bottom of the table after the first-leg of the I-League, but by registering two wins on the trot they climbed to the top of the Group C standings, with six points, in the 16-team tournament.
The result was a setback for Mohun Bagan (three points), as the Kolkata giants now have to beat Air India (four points) by at least two goals to make it to semi-finals. Air India need just a victory to advance to the last four.
Oil India, who were the showstoppers from their group, should consider themselves unlucky as they were let down by their foreign recruit Okwuelum Ezekiel, who missed a penalty in the first-half.
The effervescent Durga Boro stood out with his sparklers but failed to score, though credit must also be given to Vasco goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani, who displayed a fine show.
Just when it seemed that the match would end in a stalemate, a Teshabaev header in the 70th minute gave Vasco the match-winner.
Teshabaev capitalised on a corner, heading the ball down in front of the goalmouth. The bounce was enough to deceive Oil India custodian Prandip Datta.
Giving full credit to his boys, Vasco coach Elvis Goes said, "They made all the difference. We came as nobodies, as everybody wrote us off for our disappointing show in the I-League, but, eventually, we proved a point.
"But Oil India were the team to beat. Durga was exceptional and any coach would love to see him in his forward line-up," added the coach.Blaming Ezekiel for their loss, Oil India coach Subrata Bhattacharya said, "Such type of foreign players I cannot accept. I will report this to the management. We don't have to play a foreigner as it has become a fashion nowadays, though we have a couple of inspirational recruits like Jose Barreto and Odafe Okolie."