The New York Cosmos have won their first match in almost 30 years, overcoming Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 in a dramatic finish.
In front of a capacity home crowd of 11,929 at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium, Alessandro Noselli scored in second-half stoppage time to snag victory for the Cosmos.
The Cosmos went into half-time with a 1-0 lead after Peri Marosevic's goal but the visitors from Fort Lauderdale looked to have secured a point in the North American Soccer League (NASL) thanks to Walter Restrepo's 73rd-minute header.
But Noselli, who had missed a chance to double the hosts' lead just before Restrepo scored, made amends just before the final whistle, getting his head to a poor back pass from a Strikers' defender and sending the ball into the net to spark wild celebrations.
The Cosmos, who had not played since 1984, were the figurehead team of the United States in the 1970s with the likes of Pele, Carlos Alberto and Franz Beckenbauer playing for the New York-based side.
Alberto and Pele were on-hand for the official start of re-formed Cosmos and the former made it clear the club has no plans to be a short-term entity like its predecessor.
"We're thrilled with the return of the Cosmos and if not this year, very soon were going to have the same kind of team we had before," Alberto said.
"The most important thing for people to know is we're not here to play games.
"We're here to really seriously play this game hard."
The Cosmos' opening goal-scorer, Marosevic, conceded there will be high expectations on the inaugural squad.
"We know we're going to have pressure on us," Marosevic said.
"The thing we focus on is playing the game for fun.
"It's truly an honor to be part of this club and to step on the field and wear that New York Cosmos jersey."
While the Cosmos retain aspirations of playing in the United States top-tier, the MLS, they have made it clear they are happy to bide their time and build in the second-tier NASL until then.
The Cosmos' next game is against the Tampa Bay Rowdies on August 10.
|Coach: G. Savarese|
for S. Dimitrov 63'
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