Ella, Old Goa
Goan Football Club won the maiden Goa Football Association (GFA) Professional League crown as they defeated Dempo Sports Club 2-0 in the last match of league, played at Dempo Football Academy ground in Ella, Old Goa on Monday.
Dempo – who had defeated Churchill Brothers in the last league match – made no changes to their side, whilst Goan FC coach Clifford Miranda made three changes as Brian Faria, Lalawmpuia and Serineo Fernandes made it to the starting eleven.
It was Goan FC’s Liston Colaco who was the first to shoot on target from distance but Dempo keeper Tyson Caiado comfortably collected the ball. The Golden Eagles retaliated quickly with swift attack where Pedro Gonsalves was in the commanding position to score but he shot wide from 6 yards.
At the other end, Goan FC almost found the opener in the 6th minute when Saviour Gama’s curling free kick from outside the box hit the side post and deflected off the keeper Caiado and went out for a corner. A few minutes later, they once again came close to scoring when Lalawmpuia easily cut past a defender and went for the glory from the top of the box, but his powerful strike hit the crossbar. Goan FC had another chance in the 13th minute when Kingslee Fernandes made a through-pass to Serineo Fernandes in the box but his shot was brilliantly blocked by Dempo custodian Caiado.
Dempo had a chance to surge ahead in the very next minute as Joaquim Abranches dribbled past a defender after getting a short pass from Pedro and shot from the top of the box but Goan keeper Shubam Dhas made a diving effort to clear the danger for a corner.
Goan FC finally surged ahead in the 23rd minute when Hayden Fernandes’ long ranger entered the top corner giving no chance to Dempo keeper who was left rooted to the ground.
Dempo had a great opportunity to level back in the 36th minute when they were awarded a free kick just outside the box but their skipper Jessel Carneiro’s curling shot was easily collected by Goan keeper Dhas.
At the other end, Goan FC doubled their lead in the 38th minute when Dempo defender Edwin Veigas made a miss pass to Liston who covered some ground and made a square pass to Lalawmpuia, who made an easy tap in to make it 2-0 for the winners.
Dempo came close to scoring within five minutes of crossing over when Kirtikesh Gadekar made short pass to Floyd Pinto in the box who cut past a defender and shot on the goal but the Goan custodian brilliantly blocked his goal bound strike at the cost of a corner.
Goan FC were reduced to 10-man in the 58th minute when their defender Gama made a front footed tackle on Suraj Hadkonkar and referee Prasad Surlekar quickly showed him the direct Red card. Despite having disadvantage in players, it was Goan FC who came close to scoring twice but first Lalawmpuia shot wide from inside; while a few minutes later, Liston’s strike from close was brilliantly blocked by Dempo shot-stopper Caiado.
The Golden Eagles also came with a couple of close chances but on both the occasions Goan defence line cleared the danger on time.
Down by two goals, Dempo gaffer Samir Naik used all his substitutes bringing in Jaison Vaz, Suraj Hadkonkar and Beevan D’Mello but the trio could not make much difference to the score sheet. In the 85th minute of the match, Goan FC once again played with 11 players when their substitute Lalawmpuia mistakenly came onto the field. Referee Prasad shown him the yellow card and he was sent out. Though Dempo dominated the last 30 minutes, they could not break the strong Goan FC defence led by Meldon D’Silva and Lalmangaihsanga along with Serineo and Brian on the wings.