Debutants Sikkim down Salgaocar 3-2

GANGTOK: Debutants United Sikkim FC came back from one goal down twice to upset established I-League side Salgaocar 3-2 in a thrilling match at Paljor Stadium in Gangtok, Saturday.

After a dull first 45 minutes, the game exploded in the second half when Angel Guirado gave the Goan club the lead in the 50th minute.

A horrific misunderstanding between United Sikkim goalkeeper Yoon Tae and his defender allowed Aldecuer to head in a rebound from two yards out.

The Snow Lions, happy till now in defending deep, responded swiftly and restored parity two minutes later. Their striker Buddiram Tudu rode in unchallenged from midfield but his shot was parried by Salgaocar goalkeeper Karanjit Singh. Nurudeen Salau arrived in time to poke home the loose ball and equalise for United Sikkim.

Even before the 12,000 odd home supporters could finish celebrating the first I-League goal of United Sikkim, Salgaocar took the lead for the second time in the 56th minute. A quick free-kick beat an unprepared United Sikkim defence and goalkeeper but the ball hit the post. Milagres Gonsalves was at the correct place to capitalise on the rebound and make the score 2-1 in favour of Salgaocar.

United Sikkim, playing in I-League for the first time, refused to concede defeat and left winger Lineker Machado equalised with a fine strike in the 64th minute.

Boosted by a boisterous home crowd, United Sikkim then took the lead in the 75th minute when defender Sandesh Jhingan rose highest to head an Ashish Chettri free-kick.

United Sikkim withstood fierce pressure from Salgaocar for the remaining period to bag 3 full points in its I-League debut match.