Goalkeeper Jason D’Mello made two brilliant saves to take his side one step closer to the crown.
Salgaocar FC custodian Jason D’Mello made two brilliant saves in the penalty shootout as the Goan side defeated ONGC FC 5-2 in the second semi-final fixture of the AWES Cup 2018 played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco, earlier today.
The Green Brigade will face Sporting Clube de Goa in the final on 15th September, which will be played under floodlights. Before the showpiece, the exhibition match between All India Football Legends will be played at the same venue.
The Oilmen had previously won all three group matches against Gokulam Kerala, SESA FA and Sporting Clube de Goa, while the Green Brigade were also unbeaten in the group stage, as they had stunned FC Pune City in their first match, followed by back-to-back draws against FC Goa and Dempo SC.
ONGC had only one change to their side, as their coach Caetano Pinho gave a start to Dhruvesh Nijap, whereas, Salgaocar coach Levino Pereira made no changes to his side from the last match against Dempo.
The Mumbai side started the match on an attacking note and came close to scoring in the 5th minute, when Sunil Lohar tried his luck from distance, but his strike went just wide. Two minutes later, Salgaocar striker Ronaldo Oliveira’s shot went just over the crossbar from inside the box.
The Oilmen should have taken the lead in the 19th minute, when Alua Naresh found Enock Cudjoe in the box, but the Ghanaian striker failed to direct his header into the goal from close range. At the other end, Salgaocar’s Devendra Murgaonkar was left with just the keeper to beat, but the forward failed to put power in his strike as rival keeper Bilifang Narzary comfortably collected the same.
After some time, the Green Brigade had another chance as their skipper Mackroy Peixoto struck from the edge of the box, but the ONGC custodian did a brilliant job to tip it over for a corner. Salgaocar came up with another clear opportunity in the 45th minute, as this time an unmarked Devendra’s shot was brilliantly blocked by the rival shot-stopper.
Like in the first half, the Oilmen started the second session on an attacking note, as Himanshu Patil curled the ball to Cudjoe in the box, but the forward failed to connect from close range.
The Goan side surged ahead in the very next minute, as Sanson Pereira’s curling free-kick was tapped-in by Devendra to make it 1-0 for Salgaocar. They had another opportunity to double their lead ON the hour mark, when Stephen Alvares found Ronaldo with a long throw-in, but the striker’s shot went inches wide.
A few minutes later, the Green Brigade came up with another attack, as this time Selwyn Miranda’s cross was nicely controlled by Denil Rebello in the box and sent towards goal, but ONGC substitute Kartik Bhola cleared it off the line. Ronaldo wasted another chance to put his side further ahead in the 83rd minute, as this time he was fed with a beautiful curling cross from Denil, but like last time, the forward failed to keep his header on target.
The Oilmen punished them for wasting so many chances and finally managed to level back with just six minutes in regulation time, as Jagdeep Singh’s corner was brilliantly headed in by Ghanaian striker Cudjoe to make it 1-1 for the Mumbai-based club.
The match later advanced to the shootout, where the Salgaocar skipper started with a clean finish from the spot, while, Harkirat Singh levelled it back. Sanson and Selwyn were on target for the Goan side, but their keeper Jason D’Mello made two brilliant saves to deny ONGC captain F. Lalmuanpuia and Nitesh Monde. Denil scored like an ace to book a final date with Sporting Goa.