I-League: Salgaocar welcomes Sporting for season’s final derby

The two Goan sides have had contrasting campaigns, with Salgoacar FC escaping from the cusp of relegation with a fine showing at the later part of the season, while Sporting Clube de Goa let go of its title prospect after a decent start to the season.

Sporting Clube de Goa coach Mateus Costa shakes hand with Salgaocar manager Santosh Kashyap.   -  I-League Media

Salgaocar FC will host local rival Sporting Clube de Goa in the penultimate matchday of I-League 2015-16 in a fixture that can determine which side finishes in the fourth position on the table.

The two Goan sides have had contrasting campaigns, with Salgoacar FC escaping from the cusp of relegation with a fine showing at the later part of the season, while Sporting Clube de Goa let go of its title prospect after a decent start to the season.

Salgaocar FC is at the sixth spot on the table heading into the final fixture after a string of solid performances at the business end of the tournament. It was at the bottom of the table and most football fans would have written the team off to avoid relegation after four losses in its first four games, but the appointment of Santosh Kashyap changed things around drastically.

Big wins against East Bengal at home and DSK Shivajians away turned the tide in Kashyap’s favour and Darryl Duffy’s impressive run of form in the time the Scott has managed to stay fit proved vital. Salgaocar FC has its full squad available for selection with Duffy being the only doubt.

The Vasco-based side has the opportunity to finish at the fourth spot if it wins its game against its cross-city rival and if Mumbai FC drop points versus DSK Shivajains and will be breathing a sigh of relief. However, it cannot afford to take Saturday’s fixture lightly, with Sporting winning two of its last five games, whilst the Greens have managed to win just once.

Santosh Kashyap spoke about his side’s momentum heading into the game, “We come here after playing two tough matches; we did well in Aizawl but couldn’t execute our plan in Bengaluru. This is a different game; we play at home so that’s definitely an advantage also the team looks to be in a good shape. From our last match we want to achieve a respectable position in the table, so yes a win here can take us to the fourth spot,” Kashyap stated.

Sporting Clube de Goa walks into the game on the back of a 0-0 draw versus East Bengal at the Barasat Stadium last week. It played its last home game two weeks ago, with a 5-2 annihilation of Shillong Lajong at the Fatorda Stadium.

Mateus Costa said ahead of the game that the fourth spot is not all that his side is playing for versus its local rival, “The derbies are always high-pressure games; it’s not just the 4th position which is at stake here. With the Federation Cup looming around we would defiantly want to win tomorrow. This can be a huge boost for the players ahead of the Federation Cup and also, it would mean we play the second leg at home which is a huge advantage.” Costa said.

The management did a stellar job in the recruitment of experienced I-League professionals at the beginning of the season, but the squad could not settle into a rhythm under the tutelage of Mateus Costa.

It will be a slobber-knocker at the Tilak Maidan in Vasco under floodlights with both sides pushing for the best possible result as the Hero I-League ends in Goa in the best possible way with the Green and Oranje faithful locking horns.

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