I-League: Salgaocar beat Mumbai FC; Prayag United beat United Sikkim

A second-half strike from Milagres Gonsalves saw Salgaocar FC beat Mumbai FC by a solitary goal in the 21st round of the I-League, played at the Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Saturday.

After a barren first half, Salgaocar scored the all-important goal in the 58th minute through Milagres Gonsalves.

The win takes Salgaocar to 23 points from 21 matches while Mumbai FC remained on 26 points from 20 matches.

Both the teams failed to live up to their billing and a good part of the action was restricted to midfield play.

Salgaocar who had two of their players suspended in the last match, felt the absence of Josimar Silva as they lacked sharpness in their attack.

They had more possession in the first half, had a couple of clear chances, but Obotola failed to direct his shots on target.

The Mumbai FC came back strongly in the later part of the first session creating more openings, but the moves lacked the punch and hardly threatened the rival goal.

Changing over, the Mumbai side looked to score early in the second half with veteran Yusuf Yakubu twice coming close to scoring. First his curler went over and later his free kick hit the rival defender and off the rebound, Gabriel Fernandes effort was headed out by Augustin.

Against the run of play, Salgaocar scored in the 58th minute.

Fulgencio Cardozo’s cross from the left came off Mumbai FC player Gabriel Fernande’s chest and Salgaocar striker Milagres Gonsalves was in the right place to slot home on the rebound.

The visitors made two quick changes bringing in Jayesh Rane and Evans Quao in place of S Kuttymani and N D Opara and the move nearly paid off as Mumbai FC came close in finding the equaliser but Yabuku failed to capitalise on a chance.

Salgaocar’s keeper Luciano Soborosa, who was back from injury, played a stellar role in the defence keeping the rivals strikers at bay.

Ranty wins it for United SC

Fresh from their IFA Shield triumph, United SC continued their winning momentum with a 1-0 victory over United Sikkim FC in a 21st round I-league fixture at the Paljor Stadium in Gangtok.

Nigerian Ranty Martins made all the difference with his 25th minute strike in a match coach Eelco Schattorie rested key players like Calros Hernandez and Gourmangi Singh.

United SC moved to fourth spot with 34 points from 21 matches, while the Bhiachung Bhutia-owned side remained in the relegation zone, lying on the 13th place with 12 points from 21 matches.

The Kolkata club, which won the first leg with a collosal 10-1 margin, were not in their prime but Martins struck through a beautiful through ball from Kayne Vincent that caught United Sikkim defense napping.

Martins calmly lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Rakshit Kumar to score the only goal of the match.

The leading I-League scorer should have added another goal to his tally but he lashed his volley over the United Sikkim goal from close range.

In between, United Sikkim played some enterprising football and controlled the midfield to create some good goal-scoring chances.

A strong header from striker Nurudeen Salau early in the first half was wonderfully tipped over the bar by Prayag United SC goalkeeper Subrata Pal.

Towering striker Pablo Rodriquez Aracil won a lot of long balls creating chances for his teammates.

Nurudeen also came close to scoring twice in second half but was denied by Paul.

With 20-odd minutes left, Schattorie brought in Gourmangi and Hernandez.

The inclusion of these two senior players shut out United Sikkim attacks as the newly-crowned Shield champions returned with three full points.

“I did not field a full-strength team today as we recently played IFA Shield final. We have played some eight matches in the past 20 days and players need recovery time. Today’s game was not our best match. But we are certainly happy with the result,” said Schattorie.

United Sikkim coach Nathan Hall praised his players for their determined performance.

“The players were outstanding and played with the right attitude,” he said.

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