Goan FC (FC Goa Dev) is back on top of the Goa Professional League table with a 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers, while Salgaocar FC continues to remain within striking distance of the table-toppers. Meanwhile, Goan FC may have been handed six points after Vasco SC and Guardian Angels SC appear to have forfeited their matches against the development side of FC Goa.
Goan FC edge past Churchill Brothers to go on top
Goan FC registered a hard-fought 1-0 win over Churchill Brothers FC to top of the Goa Professional League match at the Nagoa Panchayat Ground.
The match was played in an even footing in the opening exchanges before Goan FC took control of the majority of the possession.
The Young Gaurs began to find their rhythm in the final fifteen minutes of the first half. The young team with the likes of Liston Colaco, Princeton Rebello, Hayden Fernandes, and Kingslee Fernandes started to have a bigger say on the proceedings.
It was in this period when the league leaders went ahead. In the 39th minute, Liston Colaco nicked the ball of Serbian defender Nenad Novakovic.
The winger waltzed past Churchill defense put the ball on a plate for Aaren D’Silva. The forward held his nerve to put the ball past the onrushing goalie, Kunzang Bhutia, to give the Young Gaurs the lead going into the break.
The second half had a similar feel with both teams giving their all with FC Goa looking threatening particularly down the left with Liston and Saviour Gama – both of whom had a shot on goal each.
Churchill brought on the likes of Chesterpaul Lyngdoh into the side and pushed Novakovic up front, they failed to create anything of note in the final third. However, the I-League side was restricted to three shots on goal in the game – all coming from free-kicks.
With this result, Goan FC is on top of the table with 48 points, while Churchill Brothers FC is out of contention for the title.
The Greens trump Red Machines to stay in the hunt
Salgaocar FC has kept their title bid alive with a 2-1 win over Churchill Brothers FC at the Duler Stadium.
The Greens took the lead in the 15th minute. A shot by Ronaldo Oliveira was blocked by Churchill keeper Kunzang Bhutia but Devendra reacted quickly to head in the rebound to make it 1-0 for Salgaocar.
The lead was doubled in the 25th minute after Churchill’s midfielder Gilbert Oliveira handled the ball inside the box and Samuel Costa calmly converted the penalty to make it 2-0 for his side.
Churchill should’ve reduced the deficit in the 36th minute. Nicolas Fernandes’ cross was headed goalbound by Cyrus Noronha, however, the young striker’s effort rebounded off the post.
The Red Machines reduced the margin in the 45th minute. Gilbert’s cross was brilliantly headed at the far post by Serbian defender Novakovic from inside the box to make it 2-1 for his side.
The second session saw Churchill introduce Uttam Rai and Clencio Pinto to strengthen the attack and put the Salgaocar defense under pressure.
Uttam Rai found the back of the net in the 77th minute when he tapped in a cross from Nicolas Fernandes. However, the linesman flagged offside – a decision which was met with strong protests from the Churchill players and officials. More pressure ensued from the Red Machines attack as Salgaocar shot-stopper Jason blocked Wolfe’s shot for a corner a few minutes later.
Jason’s heroics in added time ensured the Salgaocar grabbed all three points. First, he thwarted skipper Nicholas from close range. A minute later, he denied Suraj Singh from scoring the equalizer. Amidst all the action, Churchill’s coach Norbert Gonsalves was sent off by referee towards the end of the match.
The win helped the Green Brigade to stay in the title contest as they climbed to the 3rd position with 44 points – three behind leaders Dempo. Churchill remains on 5th position on 39 points.
Vasco & Guardian ASC hand over 6 points to Goan FC?
Vasco SC and Guardian Angels SC have supposedly forfeited their scheduled matches and handed six points to their opponent Goan FC.
Officials from Vasco SC stated that the players have been released and the U-20 players are “already playing for First Division Clubs. So, we won’t be able to field a team against Goan Football Club on 25th April 2019”.
Guardian Angels also released a similar statement citing the difficulties in paying the salaries of the players for an additional month, which thereby resulted in releasing the players. “The league was to get over by February and now we are in April, as we are a low budgeted team and we are unable to pay salary to our players for April,” read the statement.
The Goa Football Association released a statement of their own which attributed to the postponement of the matches which were to be wrapped up in February, namely the late start of the league, non-availability of grounds, preparation and participation in the National Santosh Trophy.
The statement also acknowledged the hardships faced by the clubs. “The GFA understands and empathizes with the management of some clubs who have to bear the additional burden on the team management as some of the clubs had taken some players on six months contract.”
However, the association also appealed to both clubs to extend the player contracts for another match.
While this does not quite appear to be a standoff and it is unlikely that the matches will be played. For all-purpose, this highlights the state of Indian football should we look away from the bright lights of the Indian Super League.
[With inputs from the Navhind Times]