It was a tap in from Salgaocar skipper Luciano Sobrosa that allowed the Goans to edge out Prayag United SC by a solitary goal at the revived Tilak Stadium in Goa...
David Booth was without the services of regular forward, Gabriel Obatola as Josimar and Milagres Gonsalves were employed as the two front-men, while Anthony D'Souza was handed a start ahead of John Wilkinson in midfield.
Eelco Schattorie was also without his star names in the form of Ranti Martins and Bello Rasaq which meant Sankar Oraon was called in to the starting eleven. Midfielder K Asif too made a start after coming off the bench in the last game.
The game started with the home team moving the ball around with relative ease, though that final killer pass let them down, as they failed to manufacture any meaningful chances.
Midfielder Randeep Singh was dictating play in the centre of the park for Booth's side and he set up striker Josimar in the 15th minute, but a well timed block by Prayag full back Chinta Chandrashekar denied him the opportunity to open the scoring.
Around 10 minutes later, Francis Fernandes had two quick chances to get his name on the scoreboard. First he had all the space and time in the box after Nicolau Colaco found him just outside the box, but shot high and wide.
Francis' second opportunity in the 27th minute saw him pull the trigger a bit too early, thus allowing Sangram Mukherjee to effect a regulation save.
Prayag United's Kayne Vincent had found the back in the 31st minute, but was flagged off-side, besides Carlos Hernandez' shot being blocked a few minutes earlier.
Salgaocar had a couple more of half chances but Milagres and Randeep failed to do justice and the teams entered the break with a goal less stalemate.
In the 55th minute, Randeep floated in a hopeful cross towards Josimar, but the striker's tame shot was easily held by Sangram Mukherjee in goal.
It was fortuitous, the way in which Salgaocar took the lead, but they deserved it nonetheless for their first half showing. Three minutes before the hour mark, a Randeep Singh free-kick from the right was tapped in at the far corner by Salgaocar skipper Luciano Sobrosa, who was unmarked.
The game was turning out to be a physical battle after both coaches opted to introduce a couple of fresh legs on the pitch, as the home side's John Wilkinson and the away team's CK Vineeth and Lester Fernandez made their way in.
Milagres took on the whole defense in the 81st minute with a solo run, but his weak effort at the end of it all meant Sangram could pull off an easy save, while Augustin followed suit heading straight into the grateful arms of the United SC keeper in the 88th minute.
Josimar did everything right to beat the onrushing Sangram and had an open goal in front of him, but shot wide late in the injury time although his side earned three points at the full time whistle.
With Prayag looking listless without their star men, coach Eelco Schattorie will have to be content with a mid table showing this season. Meanwhile with another win, Salgaocar have finally scraped off the relegation battle to relative safety.
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