SALGAOCAR FC made an emphatic comeback from their continuous run of bad form by grabbing a pulsating 2-3 win from DSK Shivajians at their own backyar tonight, thanks to a timely brace from their number one striker Darrly Duffy.
It wasn't looking good for the home team from the get go, as they made seven changes to their starting line-up, not all of them for voluntary. Subrata Paul missed the game with an injury, but the Shivajians had consolation in seeing new signing Juan Quero Barraso line up with the first eleven. Salgaocar decided to make two changes, handing starts to Calvin Mbarga and Thongkhosiem Haokip.
As the game began both sides got down to business very early with Barraso feeding Douhou whose shot towards the goal was blocked. Barraso ran in again and went down inside the box after clashing with defender Keenan Almeida but the referee waved off any penalty appeals.
Soon Salgaocar had a good chance to score. Duffy sent a cross to Mbarga who headed it towards the goal but the ball hit the post. The visitors were disappointed, but not for long.
Minutes later they got a corner, which Martin Scott sent into the box. A scuffle ensued as everyone tried to get hold of the ball but Thongkhosiem Haokip got a shot on it and sent it right in. Salgaocar were 0-1 ahead with 38 minutes on the clock. DSK immediately got a chance to get even when the ball fell to Baljit Sahni with a nearly open net ahead of him, but he shot it wide.
The second half began in an emphatic fashion for Salgaocar. And Haokip was at the thick of it again. He ran right down into the DSK box and passed the ball to Darryl Duffy who had an easy finish to follow up with. It was 0-2 now.
And it didn't take long for Salgaocar to compound the woes for the home side. Jackichand Singh took a free-kick, sending the ball right into the box, and Darryl Duffy made a simple finish with a header. 0-3 up with 70 minutes gone, the game looked sealed.
But the Shivajians didn't give up. Led by newly introduced substitute Aser Dipanda, they tried hard to come back. The first goal came 75 minutes in, when Eder brought down Blajit Sahni inside the box. Dipanda converted the penalty. Then minutes later, Zohib Amiri sent in a great cross for Suchandra who fed Dipanda inside the box for a hard kick into the net. DSK Shivajians had made it 2-3 with 5 minutes of regulation time to spare.
But it was too late. Even after sustained pressure through the last few minutes they could not get a third goal and in the end Salgaocar walked away with a 2-3 win.
This has changed things a lot at the bottom of the table. Hiring Santosh Kashyap is paying dividents for Salgaocar, who have registered their first win of the campaign. With 5 points from 7 games, they have now caught up with Aizawl FC who are at the same stage. DSK Shivajians, with just 4 points from 7 games, are now at the bottom of the table, but since they are immune from relegation, the dreaded battle to stay alive is now neck-to-neck between Aizawl and Salgaocar. And by the way Kashyap's boys are showing signs of improvement, Aizawl FC will need to step up their game if they are to stay in the top division beyond this season.