MARGAO, Nov 8 (PTI): Salgaocar FC scored a solitary goal win over Pune FC to emerge Durand Cup champions for the third time here today.
Salgaocar, who enjoyed better ball possession, scored the all important goal in the 21st minute through Thangjam Saran Singh at the Raia Panchayat ground.
Rocus Lamare played a through pass from the middle to Saran Singh who took couple of rival defenders in his stride and on entering the box uncorked a right footer that found the roof of the net which ultimately proved to be the winner.
Salgaocar had the first try at the opposition goal but Rocus Lamare miscued his shot that went wide off the target off a pass from Darryl Duffy. The Goan side again had the chance to increase the lead but Gilbert Oliveira directed his shot off the target.
Pune FC came close to scoring in the dying minutes of the first half but the home team keeper Karanjit Singh did well to tip the ball over the bar off a Prakash Thorat long shot.
The second half was mostly a midfield battle with the visitors trying hard to find the equaliser in the last quarter of the match but keeper Karanjit once again was alert to make a diving save off substitute Eric Brown. Later, Zhomingliana Ralte header also went out. Salgaocar coach Derrick Pereira, who has won the trophy twice as a coach and once as a player, was happy for today�s triumph.
�It is a special moment for me to win the trophy as a player and as a coach for Salgaocar. But today it is more important as we won it at home. I congratulate the players for the hard word they have put in during training and we have got the reward finally. Now we look to carry on the winning momentum in Federation Cup and the I-League,� Pereira said.
Salgaocar have earlier won the title in 1999 and 2003.
The winners were richer by Rs 25 lakhs while Pune FC got Rs 15 lakhs. Bengaluru FC and Sporting Clube de Goa, both losing semifinalists, were awarded Rs 5 lakh each.