Salgaocar FC were made to shiver from the top pedestal they were sitting on, but came back into the game and held rivals Vasco SC to a 2-2 draw in their encounter of the GFA Professional League at Duler stadium, on Monday. In what was once termed a Vasco derby, the green brigade from the port had to wait till the end to score their equaliser and return home with eleven points and their position on the table intact.
This is Vasco’s first draw in three matches and the first point earned by the men in black and white.
The first quarter began on a squib as both teams were unable to beat the vagaries of the weather. Heavy rain made play light and it was a matter of wait and watch – wait for the rains to stop and watch when the boys would start accelerating the pace of their game.
Salgaocar allowed their opponents to take the initiative and it was the latter’s first two moves that gave a semblance of what lay ahead.
In the 20th minute, Nicholas Fernandes worked on the left flank and sent a deadly cross just a yard from the goal line, but Nash Pereira was late in getting his foot to the ball.
Seven minutes later, Salgaocar were left wondering what struck them when Nicholas found striker Sagar Limbo in the Salgaocar goal area. The last named, let go a pile driver that brooked no response from the Vasco goalkeeper.
Vasco’s celebrations were short lived as Liston Colaco’s corner travelled to well positioned Umesh Harijan, who drove a scorching right footer past the Churchill defense for the equaliser, 1-1.
Salgaocar almost took the lead during the added minutes of extra time. Churchill’s keeper Aliston Fernandes spilled the ball off a free kick from Brian Mascarenhas at Aslon Oliveira’s feet but the latter was late to finish and the ball was hurriedly cleared by Biju Kumar towards Liston Colaco whose shot rebounded off the post.
Salgaocar started the second half on brighter notes and on one such occasion, Liston Colaco’s fed substitute Naro Hari Shrestha who let go a right footer which hit the top upright with Churchill keeper beaten.
The next 35 minute of the second session was restricted to midfield with the keeper of both the teams having a field day.
Churchill Brothers gained the upper hand in the 78th minute through Nash Pereira. Nicholas Fernandes flashed his cross to overlapping U-20 Nash Pereira, who guided the ball into the goal, 2-1.
When it looked like Salgaocar were set to face their first defeat in the Pro League, substitute Naro Hari Shrestha saw to it that the team would not go back empty handed. Naro Hari Shrestha, got hold to a loose ball just on top of the penalty box and fired a hot blooded shot which crashed into the far corner of the goal, for the equaliser, 2-2 and a point.