Salgaocar FC juniors go down narrowly to AIFF Elite Academy in U-19 I-League
Margao: It was a tale of missed opportunities for the Greens as they went down by a solitary goal to the AIFF Elite Academy in a Round 4 clash of the U-19 I-League played at the SAG ground in Cuncolim. The victory took AIFF EA to 12 points from 4 matches, whilst Salgaocar FC continue to remain third in the standings despite their first defeat of the campaign and are just a point behind Sesa FA in second place who have played 2 games more than the Greens.
Salgaocar’s juniors came out firing on all cylinders and played a high tempo game, seldom allowing the pace to drop. They were invariably first to the loose ball, closing down their opponents quickly, thereby preventing the AIFF juniors from creating any openings. Striker Naro Hari kept the rival defenders on their toes winning a lot of the aerial balls and could have given the Greens a lead early on, but saw his left footer go just wide of the upright with the keeper beaten entirely.
Soon after earning their first corner in the 14th minute, Jason Barboza blasted over from 6 yards out after the ball fell kindly at his feet, thereby letting the AIFF EA off the hook again. AIFF’s occasional forays were brilliantly dealt with by the Salgaocar defence manned by Captain Godfrey Mascarenhas.
Raja Rawat on the left was particularly impressive, keeping his teammates particularly busy with intelligent long balls in addition to making darting runs along the flank. Godfrey and Raja were ably supported by Samuel Fernandes and Gurba Gagrai.
Both teams went into the breather tied goalless. The change of ends saw AIFF come out the more rejuvenated side, using the wings to good effect and keeping the Salgaocar defenders on their toes. On a particularly hot day, Salgaocar suffered a jolt when their target man upfront, Naro Hari went down with cramps and could play no further part.
Shortly after, AIFF almost broke the deadlock as a beautiful through ball saw Oram clear with only the Salgaocar keeper Chinmaya at his mercy. Chinmaya did brilliantly however to get down low and get his hand to the ball which came off the upright and back into play.
Liston Colaco, Salgaocar’s teenage sensation who came on as a substitute with about 15 minutes to go did create a few chances but was unable to trouble the scorers or the keeper in the AIFF goal. Salgaocar hearts were broken in with 7 minutes to go as a corner whipped in from the right saw Dalbert Fernandes rise highest to head home, much to the delight of his team mates.
Coincidentally, Dalbert is a Salgaocar youth product having represented the Greens at the U14 and U16 levels. Minutes before the final whistle Jason Barboza was once again guilty of wasting a great opportunity as he fired straight at the keeper after having been put through.
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