The Green Brigade’s new head coach was the happiest man on the field after 90 minutes.
Salgaocar FC stunned Indian Super League side FC Pune City 2-0 in the second match of Group A in the AWES Cup 2018, played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco, earlier today. Ronaldo Oliveira opened the tally for the Goan side in the 23rd minute, while Devendra Murgaonkar doubled it in the second half.
Pune head coach Miguel Portugal named Uruguayan centre-back Martin Diaz Pena and Austrian midfielder Marko Stankovic in the starting XI, while Uruguayan striker Emiliano Alfaro and Brazilian winger Marcelo Pereira were on the bench. The Spaniard also named Gurtej Singh, Gabriel Fernandes and Adil Khan in the starting XI. Whereas Salgaocar coach Levino Pereira had most of the junior squad, which was promoted from their 1st Division side.
Pune controlled the match for the first few minutes, with superb short passing. However, it was Salgaocar who came close to scoring first in the 7th minute, when Oliveira was nicely fed by Mackroy Peixoto with a long free-kick, but the striker’s attempted tap-in was pushed out for a corner by Pune keeper Bilal Khan. A few minutes later, the Goan side were unlucky to not take the lead, as their midfielder Daniel Gomes saw his long ranger hit the bottom of the post.
In the very next minute, Stankovic had the best chance to take Pune into the lead, when his teammate produced a superb through pass, but the Austrian midfielder’s shot was nicely pushed away for a corner by Salgaocar keeper Jason D’Mello.
Salgaocar stunned the visitors in the 23rd minute when Murgaonkar made a superb run on the wing and found an unmarked Ronaldo in front of an empty goal. He made a simple tap in to put his side into the lead. They had another opportunity in the 35th minute, when Mackroy produced a defense-splitting through-pass to Ronaldo, who covered some ground, but the Pune custodian came off his line to thwart the striker in a one-on-one situation.
At halftime, Pune coach Portugal made all three substitutions, bringing in Uruguayan Alfaro, Brazilian Marcelo and Rohit Kumar to replace Pena, Stankovic and Jakob respectively. However, it was Salgaocar who once again broke the Stallions defense at the hour mark, when Devendra easily cut past a defender and shot at goal, but the Pune custodian parried it onto the post. The Green Brigade doubled their lead from the resulting corner as a well-taken set-piece was stylishly headed in by Devendra to make it 2-0 for the Goan side.
With less than 30 minutes remaining on the lock, Pune came up with a series of attacks. In one of these, Alfaro brilliantly danced past all the defenders on his way to entering the box and found Alwyn George with a cut-back, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot on target. In added time, Pune were awarded a free-kick just outside the box, but Marcelo saw his curling effort denied by the woodwork.
Salgaocar’s newly-appointed head coach Levino was the happiest man on the pitch after beating an ISL side and said, “Defeating them was not easy. All the credit goes to my boys who delivered what I have taught them in the last five years. It is a big boost for them and also for me. We’re looking forward to continuing the form.”