By I-League Media
KOLKATA: Salgaocar FC took on Aizawl FC for the third place playoff at the Howrah Stadium which turned out to be an exhibition of attacking football as both the teams played freely without any sort of pressure. In the end, it was Salgaocar FC who came out on top as Aldrich Gerald Coelho, Liston Fernandes and Ronaldo Oliviera scored for the Greens. The solitary strike from Lalruamzova went in vain.
Salgaocar FC kicked off the proceedings from left to right and it was a pulsating affair in the first ten minutes. It was all for Liston Fernandes in the first half as he toyed with Stephen Lalmuanawna and stopper Lalhriatkama. Ronaldo Oliviera played through down the left-hand side and unselfishly squared it for the onrushing Aldrich Gerald Coelho who blasted into an open net to send the Salgaocar bench into delirium in the 38th minute. Liston himself doubled the lead for the team at the stroke of the half with a world class free kick that went over the wall and into the top left-hand corner of the net from 22 yards. The only notable attack mounted from the boys from Mizoram was down the right flank through Vanlalduatsanga but Lalruatpuia failed to convert it from the diving header.
Aizawl FC kicked off the second half after the breather and it was a scrappy affair till the 54th minute when Ronaldo Oliviera danced past three Aizawl players and provided Stephen Satarkar with a glorius opportunity to seal the game but with only the keeper at his mercy, he shot straight at him. Aizawl required a substitution to get back into the contest. It was Lalremsanga, who kicked them into life at the hour-mark and it was all for Aizawl FC for the next twenty minutes. Liston Fernandes sparked the Goan side back to life as he and Stephen forced Aizawl custodian to make brilliant back-to-back goal line saves to deny them the insurance goal. But the heroics of F.Lalmuanawma were shortlived as Stephen sent Ronaldo Oliviera through in the 81st minute and he nailed the final one in the Aizawl FC coffin.
Anthony Pereira, Salgaocar FC coach, sounds elated after the emphatic win, “This was the best match we have played in the entire tournament. It is not easy to motivate the boys after a defeat in the semifinal so credit to the boys for playing good attractive football. I am happy with their progress.”
Thus ends the tournament for Salgaocar FC, who have dished out a disciplined brand of football throughout the tournament. Aizawl FC also have delighted everyone with their swift cutting-edge game.