Salgaocar FC ended their Hero I-League campaign with 0-3 loss to state rivals Sporting Clube de Goa at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Saturday. Pratesh Shirodkar (6′), Sumeet Passi (30′) and Victorino Fernandes (83′) got on the scoresheet for Sporting. The match stayed at 0-2 in favour of Sporting at the half-time.
Sporting Goa gaffer Mateus Costa made 2 changes to the side which held East Bengal to a goalless draw at Kolkata, Odafa Okolie and Mehrajuddin Wadoo made way for the in-form Sumeet Passi and Joseph Clement.
Sporting Goa started the match high on confidence displaying good attacking football right from the kick-off. The Flaming Oranje got their first look at the goal in the 5th minute when Nicholas Fernandes and Mahmoud Amnah combined well to break down the Salgaocar FC defense but the former missed the nets from a close range winning a corner. Rowllin Borges send a perfect ball from the corner into a flooded SFC box, Karanjit Singh leaped high enough to punch the ball out but only to find Sporting Goa’s midfield maestro Pratesh Shirodkar who struck neatly from about 25 yards off to score a screamer. The next best chance of the match came in the 23rd minute when Rowllin took on 3 defenders to come head on with the SFC custodian but failed to keep the ball low. Sporting Goa’s in-form striker Sumeet Passi who was causing some trouble for the green’s defense struck in the 30th minute off a Nicholas cross. The latter latched on to Mahmoud Al Amnah’s ball taking on two defenders to set Passi up with a brilliant cross making it 0-2 in favour of Sporting. The scoreline stayed at 0-2 in the half-time.
Crossing over Sporting Goa maintained pressure on a depleting greens side. Santosh Kashyap’s last ditch attempt to lift the moral of his players with introduction of Martin Scott too didn’t seem to be working. In the 57th minute Sporting Goa almost made it 3 when skipper Mahmoud rounded off Karanjit Singh to send in a powerful right footed shot only to see a brilliant save by the SFC defender Augustin Fernandes.
Salgaocar FC had their best chance of the match in the 66th minute when Keenan Almeida got a clean header but missed the nets form a hand shaking distance. In the 81st minute Mateus Costa introduced his super sub Victorino Fernandes for a tiring Sumeet Passi. The move instantly paid of as Victorino’s first touch landed straight into the nets making it 0-3 for Sporting Goa in the 83rd minute. Salgaocar FC failed to make any difference in the last few minutes as Santosh Kashyap and company seemed to run out of ideas towards the end. With this win Sporting Goa stay in 4th position with 22 points while Salgaocar FC will wait for tomorrows results to determine their position in the table.
A jubilant Sporting Goa gaffer Mateus Costa said after the match, “This is a very important victory, we have not only consolidated the 4th position but also made sure that we go into the Fed Cup high on confidence. This win has surely been a major positive in the dressing room.” He further added “I am very happy with the way our boys have played today, finally we shown what Sporting Goa can really do.”