Salgaocar emerge champs

The Green Brigade from Goa made short work of JCT at the Guru Nanak Stadium to finish at the top of the I-League table on 56 points from 26 matches, beyond the reach of any other club.

Salgaocar needed just a draw to win the title but they struck twice through Francis Fernandes (13th minute) and Yusif Yakubu (85th) to become the third Goan side to become champions in four years of the I-League.

Dempo had won the inaugural edition in 2007-08 as well as the 2009-10 season while another Goan side Churchill Brothers had emerged champions in 2008-09. Salgaocar had earlier won the National Football League in 1998-99 before the top-tier competition was rechristened as the I-League.

At the Nehru stadium in Margao, Dempo scored an astonishing fourteen goals to crush Air India. Ranti Martins (35th 43rd, 48th, 61st, 67th, 78th, 84th) found the back of the net seven times with Roberto Mendes Silva (54th, 68th, 90th) scoring a hat-rick to give the Goans the crushing victory. Peter Carvalho (41st, 59th) and Climax Lawrence (45th) and Clifton Gonsalves (90th) scored the other goals.

As a result of the loss Air India have been relegated to the second division because of their inferior goal difference. Meanhwile, ONGC ensured their place in next season’s I-League with a 2-2 draw against Mumbai FC. ND Opara and Badmas Babatunde scored for ONGC in the 7th and 32nd minutes respectively while S Kuttymani (65th) and Abhishek Yadav (75th) scored for Mumbai.

ONGC have 24 points from 26 matches, the same as JCT and Air India, but enjoy a better goal difference. The results also mean that HASC will need to win their last match against Dempo, to be played on June 1, by seven goals to have any chance of staying up in the first division.


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