Midfielder Thangjam Saran Singh’s strike in the first half proved to be decisive as Salgaocar FC lifted the Durnad Cup trophy with a 1-0 win over Pune FC.
Despite creating chances throughout their first ever Durand Cup final, Pune FC were let down by substandard finishing in the final third.
The runners-up finish meant that Pune FC fell short of capturing their first silverware.
Saran Singh’s 21st minute strike was enough for Salgaocar to clinch the victory as Pune FC suffered their first competitive defeat under Coach Karim Bencherifa. Furthermore, while Pune FC created a host of chances, it was keeper Karanjit Singh whose saves for Salgaocar proved vital.
Coach Karim Bencherifa made just one change to the lineup for the big final handing a start to defender Zohmingliana Ralte who replaced Srikanth Ramu.
Pune FC began the game on the offensive and created a few chances through medio Lalrempuia Fanai and striker Prakash Thorat, but lack of finishing kept the scoreline unchanged.
As the game progressed, Pune FC was dealt with a big blow as striker Prakash Thorat had to be substituted by Shoaib Syed in the 19th minute after twisting his ankle.
Two minutes later, Salgaocar took the lead. Picking up the ball in the midfield, medio Rocus Lamare played a neat through ball to Saran on the run. The midfielder controlled the ball and slotted past custodian Amrinder Singh from close range.
Pune FC regained their composure and began attacking. However, lack of finishing in the final third was the order of the day.
Couple of minutes past the half hour mark, a good combination play between Ryuji Sueoka and Matthew Gonsalves left Lalrempuia in the clear on the right, however his low cross into the box was cleared.