SFC claim 3rd Durand Cup
Thangjam Saran Singh’s 21st-minute strike downs Pune FC as Goans celebrate hat-trick of titles
A first half strike by Thangjam Saran Singh enabled Salgaocar Football Club to clinch the 127th edition of Durand Cup, beating Pune FC by a solitary goal in the finals played at Raia Panchayat Sports Complex on Saturday.The all important goal that gave the trophy to Salgaocar FC came off in the 21st minute of play when Rocus Lamare provided a smart through pass to Saran, who took two steps forward before dodging three rival defenders and sent a stiff grounder to the right of Pune FC keeper Amrinder. The classy goal that gave no chance at all to the goalie proved to be the match winner, which helped Salgacoar FC to secure a hat-trick of winning the prestigious trophy. Salgaocar had earlier won the tournament in 1999 and 2003.
The win was special for Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira, who had won the tournament as a player when he donned the colours for the team and now brought the trophy for the club as its coach. Pereira had also won the trophy as the coach of Mahindra United.
Salgaocar FC won a prize money of Rs 25 lakh while the runners-up Pune FC claimed Rs 15 lakh. Bengaluru FC and Sporting Club de Goa, both losing teams in the semifinals, were awarded a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each. The prizes were distributed by chief guest Lt Gen Philip Campose, the vice chief of Army staff.
Salgaocar FC began attacking right from the start and most of the moves were initiated by playmaker Darryl Duffy on whom the Salgaocar team heavily depended to create cracking moves. While Duffy went on distributing the ball well to his colleagues the other player that caught the eye was Ivorian Douhou Peirre, but his threat was largely nullified by his markers.
Salgacoar enjoyed possession of the ball for most part of play and Pune FC created only one threatening move in the first session, in the 43rd minute of play which fizzled out for the visitors.
On the other hand, Salgaocar FC who were pressing hard came very close to increasing their lead in the 36th minute when the Scotsman Duffy sent a defence-splitting pass to Gilbert Oliveira, whose shot missed the target narrowly.
The proceedings in the second session too belonged to Salgacoar FC, though for some time the play was confined to midfield. Duffy again was in the thick of action when his dipping shot landed at the outside of the nets, missing the mark narrowly. Pune FC made two moves in this half through Arata Izumi and Sueoka Ryuji but their efforts were not enough to cause any damage to the Salgacoar goal.