Rangdajied United FC poured cold water on Salgaocar FC’s title ambitions with a 2-1 victory in an I-League clash at Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Saturday. Salgaocar had taken the lead in the 83rd minute through Francisco Fernandes but Rangdajied United hit back with goals from Ranty Martins Soleye in the 86th and 90th minute to dampen Salgaocar’s title hopes.
Salgaocar strikers Dudu Omagbemi and Darryl Duffy, as always, were combining well and created the first move within the first ten minutes. In a swift counter-attack, Francis Fernandes relayed the ball to Dudu, who beat defender Lamine Tamba with a body feint but the defender recovered just in time to stretch wide and block Dudu’s booming effort.
Rangdajied United, too, were creating dangerous moves but despite the presence of Nigerian striker Ranty Martins, they lacked sharpness. Most of the chances, though, fell for striker Sandesh Gadkari, the first being a well-timed cross from Steven Dias, which he mistimed badly.
There was good action five minutes before the change of ends as Clifton Dias’s curling attempt from the left hit the post and rebounded back into play. In the very next minute, Rangdajied United were unlucky as Gadkari’s effort off a Steven Dias cross hit the goalpost. Ranty also had his attempt saved and Steven sent his shot wide from close range.
The best chance was created and missed at the stroke of half-time. Dudu sent a beautiful through ball for Duffy, who found himself all alone with the goalkeeper. Duffy took time but sent his effort straight into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Surjay Pariyar.
In the second session, Rangdajied United went close again. This time Eugenson Lyngdoh appeared to have picked the right spot through a crowded defence and goalkeeper Karanjit Singh was beaten, but there were no celebrations as defender Augustine Fernandes came up with a goal-line clearance.
Salgaocar got the goal they were looking out for in the 83rd minute when a corner from Bikash Jairu saw Ranty head it out but straight into the path of Francis Fernandes whose shot from outside the danger zone sailed into the goal.
Ironically, Rangdajied United’s equaliser also came from a dead ball situation in the 86th minute when Lyngdoh’s low corner saw Ranty tap the ball home from close range even as the Salgaocar defence appeared clueless. The Salgaocar defence were caught napping again in the 90th minute when Ranty headed in a cross from David Ngaihte for the winning goal and to the shock of the local side, who dropped vital points in their title charge.