Gokulam FC struck late once again to defeat Salgaocar FC 1-0 and enter the final of the 1st AWES Cup 2017, organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons (AWES) and Dempo Sports Club Juniors, at Duler Football Stadium, Mapusa, on Friday.
Gokulam had scored a last-minute goal in their last league clash against Sporting Clube de Goa to hold them 2-2 and qualify for the semi-finals. In the semis, when it seemed like the contest would have to be decided by the tie-breaker, Gokulam struck in the 86th minute through their Nigerian striker Adelaja Somide.
The visitors from Kerala will now meet Dempo Sports Club in the final on Sunday at 3.45 pm.
Play in the first session was restricted to the midfield with both goalkeepers hardly tested. The teams adopted a cautious approach and didn’t want to take a risk in such a crucial clash.
After close to half an hour, Salgaocar created the first chance as Gilbert Oliveira found Harmanjot Singh unmarked inside the box but Harmanjot’s attempt was stopped by Gokulam goalkeeper Hemanta Gosh.
In the second session, Gokulam were the better side and went close in the 51st minute when Adelaja’s power-packed right footer missed the target by a whisker.
Salgaocar, too, had their chances and should have been sitting pretty. The Goa Pro League champions however could not give finishing touches to some promising moves as Harmanjot, Brian Mascarenhas and Mackroy Peixoto all lacked composure in front of goal.
Gokulam tasted blood in the closing stages of the match through Adelaja. The Nigerian striker had scored in each of his team’s two previous matches and struck again in the semi-final. In the 86th minute, Salgaocar’s defence fumbled and allowed Adelaja an easy passage towards goal. The Nigerian grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he coolly lobbed the ball into the unguarded goal.