For Salgaocars, which was on the verge of facing relegation last season, it can’t get any better as they are just 3 points behind I-League leaders East Bengal with the team exhibiting flamboyant style of football inherited from their Moroccan coach Karim Bencherifa.
Displaying an attacking style of football which they were once famous for, Salgaocar Sports Club routed Mumbai Football Club with a solitary goal in an I-League encounter at Kolhapur.
It was a very close call as both sides performed well and were trying to get the better of each other. Mumbai FC failed as they were unable to convert the chances that came their way. Both preferred the attacking approach but Salgaocars performed better compared to Mumbai.
Mumbai’s midfielder came close to score in the 23rd and 30th minute, but weren’t able to find the target. Sampath Kumar Kuttymani, who got a clear chance to put Khalid Jamil’s side ahead in the 32nd minute, missed the target.
It was upto Salgaocar’s man in-form, Ryuji Sueoka to break the deadlock and the Japanese midfielder made no mistake to put his side in front scoring in the 34th minute after collecting a pass from Yusuf Yakubu from the right flank.
Kuttymani came close to score the equaliser in the 60th minute, but to Mumbai’s despair, his shot hit the woodwork. Even Salgaocars had an opportunity to lead in the second half through Yakubu and Sueoka but they were unable to recreate the magic of the first half. With this win, Salgaocars are placed second in the points table with 27 points, while Mumbai remain on 20 points with defender Irungbam Khelemba Meitei being the man-of-the-match for his clinical defence performance.
Salgaocar Sports Club coach Karim Bencherifa was expectedly upbeat after the win and credited the players for the overall performance.
“The boys did very well despite the hard ground conditions,” Bencherifa told media persons. He was particularly happy with the way his team played. We defended well and were always in control. We played better and I am satisfied with the display of the team. They have done well. The win is a boost for the team as they will play another Mumbai team, Air India next month,” the Salgaocar coach said.