Salgaocar FC scored a convincing 3-1 win over Pune FC in an exciting Group B league match to book a berth in the semifinals of the Federation Cup football tournament at Tilak Stadium here on Wednesday.
Salgaocar, who led 1-0 at half time, scored through Douhou Pierre (36th minute), Darryl Duffy (70th) and Gurjinder Kumar (76th). Pune FC pulled one back through substitute Ryuji Sueoka (60th).
Salgaocar finished second behind Bengaluru FC with nine points from four matches and they now play against Dempo in the semifinals on January 9 at Nehru Stadium at Margao.
Bengaluru FC play the second semi-finals against Sporting Clube de Goa at the same venue on the same day.
The final is slated for January 11.
Pune FC, who needed a win today to qualify for the semi-finals, started positively and looked the more dominant side in the first half an hour. They had a couple of early chances but Thongkhesiem Haokip's try lacked the power to trouble keeper Subrata Paul.
Pune FC coach Karim Bencherifa made three changes, bringing in Anthony D'Souza, Nikhil Kadam and Munmun Timothy Lugun and they showed a lot of urgency in their attack as they kept on the pressure on their rivals but could not take the lead as Salgaocar's defence soaked the pressure.
Salgaocar, who just needed a draw to make it the next stage, played a safe game having the ball possession and waiting for opportunity to strike with Douhou Pierre looking dangerous whenever he found himself in the rival box.
Gilbert Oliveira had a golden opportunity to put Salgaocar in the lead in the 35th minute but he fumbled and gave the ball away to rival keeper Arminder Singh.
Salgaocar took the lead a minute later when defender Gurjinder Kumar picked Douhou Pierre inside the box with a long lob and the latter guided the ball into the net with a pinpoint header.
Pune FC brought in Ryuji Sueoka who took the field inspite of having fever. He put his team on even note in the 60th minute when he collected the ball from Nikhil Kadam from the left and took a shot at the goal which deflected a rival defender and beat keeper Paul to find the net.