After having clinched the Goa Pro League title with two games to spare, coach Derrick Pereira chose to give the remainder of his squad some playing time and they did not let him down as 10-men Salgaocar FC held Laxmi Prasad SC 2-2, to complete their league engagements in the Goa Pro League unbeaten. The draw enabled Laxmi Prasad SC to claim the runners-up spot.
The match got off to a relative fast start with both sides seeing the ball in equal measure, but neither side able to assert superiority and the ball was mostly confined to the midfield. Laxmi Prasad SC opened the scoring just past the half an hour mark when a Frieman Peixoto corner was headed in by former Salgaocar stopper, Chika Wali. They held on to the one goal lead until the breather.
In the 50th minute, Derrick introduced the experience of striker Dawson Fernandes and Ivorian Douhou Pierre in place of teenagers Myron Borges and Jason Barbosa in a double substitution and that proved to be a masterstroke with the two emerging as super-subs. With the introductions, the Greens found an extra yard in their step and went instantly on the offensive. In the 57th ?minute, Rosario Mendes sent in a low flat cross from the right that Dawson Fernandes guided past the keeper to make it 1-1.
Just as Salgaocar started asserting control of the game, midfielder Zakeer Mundamparra had his coach and team-mates in disbelief as he was sent off for dissent. Laxmi Prasad made good use of the numerical advantage to claw their way back into the game. In the 75th ?minute, a cross from the right was cushioned down smartly by N.D. Opara for another ex-Salgaocar player, Marcus Mascarenhas to score past Albino Gomes, who played in the Salgaocar goal.
A goal and a man down in the 90th minute, a mistimed kick from Brian Mascarenhas found its way through a sea of players in the box to Douhou Pierre to calmly slot home for the equaliser, thereby ensuring Salgaocar FC’s incredible run of 17 games unbeaten in all competitions remained intact.
Having annexed the title, coach Derrick Pereira has now won every major tournament in the country, the I-League, the Federation Cup, The Rovers Cup, the Durand Cup and now the Goa Professional League, both, as player and coach.