Ludhiana: Salgaocar Sports Club has clinched their maiden I-League title after recording a 2-0 victory over JCT in their last round match here on Monday.
The Green Brigade from Goa made short work of JCT at the Guru Nanak Stadium here to finish at the top of the I-League table on 56 points from 26 matches, beyond the reach of any other club.
Salgaocar needed just a draw to win the title but they struck twice through Francis Fernandes (13th minute) and Yusif Yakubu (85th) to become the third Goan side to become champions in four years of I-League.
Dempo had won the inaugural edition in 2007-08 as well as the 2009-10 season while another Goan side Churchill Brothers had emerged champions in 2008-09.
Salgaocar had earlier won the National Football League in 1998-99 before the top-tier competition was rechristened as I-League.
An ecstatic Salgaocar coach Karim Bencherifa attributed the success to excellent team work.
"We are officially the Champions. I knew we had almost won it. But with this victory, the Championship is officially ours," he said.
"I need to salute my players. I need to salute the support staff; I need to salute the management for their support. The team spirit has been excellent," he said.
"There has been so much healthy competition among the boys. Everyone had mutual respect for the other. And it benefited the team."
Three teams -- Dempo, who mauled Air India 14-0 in another match at Margao, Churchill Brothers and East Bengal, can claim the second spot.
Dempo are on 50 points and play their last match against HAL on June 1. Churchill, also on 50 points, play Pune FC in their last match tomorrow while East Bengal (48 points) take on Chirag United in their last round match on June 1.
The two teams to be relegated will be known after the last match of the tournament on June 1 between HAL and Dempo.
ONGC, JCT and Air India are on 24 points each after the end of all their 26 matches while HAL are on 21 points with a match left.
I-League Chief Executive Sunando Dhar said the two teams to be relegated will be known only after the HAL vs Dempo match on June 1.
"We cannot now say which two teams will be relegated. It will be known only after the last match," he said.
"If two or more teams are on same points, according to I-League rules, the rankings will be decided on head to head results first. If they are on equal standing even then goal difference and then goals scored will be taken into account," he added.