Salgaocar come in from behind to draw the first I-league match against Pune FC

I league

The Jawaharlal Nehru stadium at Fatorda, Goa played hosts to the inaugural tie of the I-league between last season’s third placed Salgaocar FC and Pune FC. Earlier in the season these teams had met each other twice where Salgaocar had won both games.

Pune started off the attack with a bang and ventured near the penalty area thrice under 4 minutes. An anti-climax surfaced in the 6th minute, Pune had found the back of the net on an Anthony D’souza free kick but it was after the whistle had already gone for a hand ball objection. To make amends, they did win a penalty but it hit the pole even as Salgaocar goal keeper Subrata dived to the correct side.

The first 10 minutes were dominated by Pune and only in the 12th minute did Salgaocar have a chance when the Pune goalkeeper Amrinder made a mini blunder.

Post the 20 minute mark, numerous saves and stops were made by Pune’s Gonsalves and Ralte who were stopping even the rare intermittent appearances made by Salgaocar strikers.

Douhou of Salgaocar created a brilliant opportunity for Salgaocar by getting a nice ball in on the 28th minute for Thangjam but it all went haywire when it could have gone right upto the the keeper Singh.

The 30’s on the clock saw a couple of missed attempts.. Pune FC failed to make it 1-0 after Gonsalves nicked in a superb cross. While, Salgaocar failed to conquer an open goal when the keeper Amrinder was roughly 20 yards away.

Nearing the half time (44th minute), Pune’s Anthony took advantage of Francis Kasonde’s failure to clear the ball. A great left footed shot on a very acute angle gave Pune a 1-0 score line in their favor, it was a stunning finish.

Salgaocar tried to control the situation in the added time with a stinging right footer from Douhou however Amrinder read it perfectly and soon the referee blew the half time whistle.

The second half was underway under lights and Pune’s Haokip faltered at the last second on the 46th minute, it was his chance to add to the tally. The very next minute, Salgaocar tried to equalize as well but failed.

Gurjinder put in a powerful left footer for Salgaocar from a distance in the 58th minute but the ball shy of direction whizzed past wide of the top right corner. Another chance came in on the 60th Salgaocar’s way through Gilbert but the finish is pretty wayward. Rosario also tried in the 62nd minute but the ball landed over the cross bar. The Goan side was trying hard to convert the superiority in possession on the score sheet.

A complete stretched save was put in by Pune keeper Amrinder in the 75th minute to save a curling free kick from Douhou.

Douhou then set up the stage in the 79th minute when he created space and after an exchange of passes gave in the ball to Gilbert who put it behind the goal keeper in style for a goal that had been eluding them for long.

With the lead neutralized, Salgaocar dominated right until the end of the match with Pune winning a rare corner and free kick in the 87th and 92nd minute respectively both of which were easily cleared.

Arata Izumi, captain of the Pune side was declared Hero of the Match for his brilliant efforts in the midfield and impeccable forward crosses.

The referee called it a day with the opening match going for a draw, a fascinating encounter- it was a match where both the teams played with a superb temperament.

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