Summer carnival for Goa

The I-League title stays in Goa but at a new address. All hail Salgaocar who ensured there wouldn't be any Monday blues with a comfortable 2-0 win against JCT here. They threw ice cubes at one another to mark the moment, the bubbly being conspicuous by its absence. This was their first I-League title.

Man of the Match Francis Fernandes struck with a long-ranger in a match Salgaocar only needed a draw from for their first major title since the turn of the century.

Under Shabbir Ali, who guided Bengal to their second successive Santosh Trophy title in Guwahati this evening, they had become the first team from Goa to win the National League, this competition's predecessor, in 1998-99.

Yusif Yakubu completed the victory to take the green brigade to 56 points from their 26 matches and beyond everyone's reach.

"I need to salute my players; I need to salute the support staff; I need to salute the management. The team spirit has been excellent," said Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa.

This is the fifth year in running that a Goan club has won the title proving Goa's dominance over Bengal.

With this, it's four out of four for Goa in the I-League - Dempo (twice) and Churchill Brothers having won it earlier.

JCT may escape
JCT, who were terribly dull in their last match, will now hope that HAL don't upset Dempo on Wednesday. That will mean four teams - HAL, JCT, Air India and ONGC - will finish on 24 points.

In that case, the head-to-head of all four teams will be considered and the bottom two will be relegated. As things stand now, JCT, Air India and ONGC are on 24 points. Air India have seven points in the head to head between the three teams, JCT six and ONGC four.

That means if status quo persists and HAL lose or draw their last match, they will go down with ONGC.


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