Salgaocar FC juniors defeat Sesa FA 2-0; qualify for U-19 I-League final leg
Margao: Salgaocar FC’s juniors have put in many an impressive performance this season, but none would please coach Anthony Pereira more than his side’s 2-0 win over Sesa FA earlier today, thereby helping them secure a place in the final leg of the U-19 I-League to be played later in the year. The final leg shall feature the top 8 teams in the country.
With this win, Salgaocar FC have accumulated 13 points from 7 games with a game to spare against table toppers AIFF Elite Academy to b played on the 10th, whilst Sesa FA finished their league engagements with 8 points. AIFF EA had earlier already secured a spot in the next round with an all-win record in the 7 matches played thus far.
On a day when one point was all that was needed to see the Greens through, Salgaocar’s juniors attacked relentlessly from the outset. Naro Hari was his usual dangerous self and kept the academy boys on their toes. At the other end with skipper Godfrey Mascarenhas missing at the heart of defence for the Greens, the back four were tested on several occasions, particularly through set-pieces.
The Greens almost broke the deadlock in the 5th minute when a smart run down the flank by Lalit on the left saw him work a nice 1-2 and send in a dangerous cross. Naro who was lurking flicked the ball only for the Sesa keeper to effect a smart save. Unfortunately, Jason Barbosa was a touch slow in reacting to the loose ball and the ball was cleared to safety. Sesa did have a few attempts of their own thereafter, but Chinmaya stood steady under the Salgaocar bar.
Salgaocar broke the deadlock in the 27th minute of the game when a long ball out from defence saw Naro Hari bring it under control beautifully at the top of the box and after interchanging passes with Stefen Fernandes before slotting the ball to the keeper’s right. Salgaocar continued attacking and were unlucky not to score a second five minutes before the breather when a power-packed shot from Naro crashed into the back of the net, but the ball was adjudged to have come off his hand before he let fly.
Sesa came out the more aggressive in the second half and were intent of finding the equaliser. However, they were unable to create any clear-cut chances as the Salgaocar defence held firm.
Salgaocar, however, created the best chances of the half and Stefen was unlucky not to find the back of the net on a couple of occasions. He did however get on the scoresheet in the 93rd minute of a penalty that came about as a result of Jason being clumsily brought down in the box, giving the referee no option but to point to the spot and reduce the Academy team to 10 men. From the resultant spot kick, Stefen Fernandes sent the keeper the wrong way to well and truly start the celebrations in the Green camp.