Pune, Apr 4 UNI | 4 months ago

Scottish midfielder Darryl Duffy scored a goal off a header seven minutes from the regulation time to give Salgaocar FC a crucial 2-1 win against Pune FC in the Round 24 match of the Airtel I-League at the Balewadi Sports Complex stadium here today.

It turned out to be a long wait for Pune FC's win, the last coming on February 19 against Mohammedan Sporting. The loss meant that Pune FC is virtually out of contention to challenge for the top spot currently held by Bengaluru FC.

Pune FC will stay on No 6 position with 31 points, while Salgaocar cemented their No 2 position, now on 37 points, one behind the league leaders.

Salgaocar started on a good note enjoying better ball possession and controlled the proceedings. Visiting forward Macpherlin Dudu could have given the visitiors an early lead in the 18th minute but his header sailed above the post.

The visitors were a determined lot and it was amply shown by Mathhew Foschini, who came dangerously close to scoring in the 30th minute but lost the chance as his shot landed straight into the hands of Pune FC custodian Amrinder Singh.

Pune FC's Riga Mustapha got an opportunity in the 34th minute when Anthony D'Douza chipped the ball to him in the box but a vigilant Karanjit Singh thwarted the attempt.

The visitors took the lead in the 38th minute when Gilbert Oliveira, who curled in a shot from top of the box into the left corner. It was Dudu who set up Gilbert, whose impeccable shot found the net.

Down by a goal the only thing in the minds of the Red Lizards was to find an equaliser. Riga had a good chance in the 41st minute, but he had to let go after he was crowded by the Salgaocar defenders who tackled the Ghana-born Dutchman successfully.

Hardworking Gabriel Fernandes created another opportunity in the 42nd minute, but failed to control the ball inside the box ending up deflecting the ball wide off the post.

On changing the ends, Pune FC found the equliser, but at the cost of a player when Dhanpal Ganesh was red carded for physically confronting Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh.

No doubt Riga converted the penalty and gave the equaliser to the hosts but Brian Mascrenhas' tackle on Gabriel Fernandes that actually led to the fracas, spoiled Pune FC's party.

Down to 10 men Pune FC continued the attack but missed a couple of goal scoring opportunities which could have made the difference.

Salgaocar then took a surprise lead in the 83rd minute when Duffy's header made it to the nets which sent the Goans celebrating. And yet again Pune FC were up on their toes finding a desperate equalizer, but in vain.

(Posted on 05-04-2014)