The top five teams in Goa slugged it out to produce 20 goals in the Goa Professional League. At the end of Round 26, Dempo SC and Goan FC have come out on top of the table with 51 points each.
Goan FC (FC Goa Dev) has the advantage with an extra match in hand. However, their last match is against their closest rivals: Dempo. The Golden Eagles have a far superior goal difference over the development team of FC Goa. In effect, the final game of the season could become a title decider.
Round 26 also signaled the end of the Sporting Goa-Salgaocar domination of the league. The two teams held the title for the past six seasons. Meanwhile, Churchill Brothers limped out of the title challenge with their lost fourth loss in a row.
Golden Eagles leave it late against the Red Machine
Dempo Sports Club left it late to keep their title hopes alive after a 3-2 win over Churchill Brothers in the Goa Professional League match at the Sports Authority of Goa Ground, Utorda.
After a cautious first half, the match exploded to life in the 48th minute. Joaquim Abranches slamming home the opener after controlling an aerial ball from Floyd. 1-0.
Churchill Brothers equalized in the 68th minute. Lamgoulem received the ball from the center and dribbled past the Dempo defense before guiding the ball into the net. 1-1.
With a win needed to keep their title hopes alive, Dempo went in search of a goal and was rewarded soon after. Suraj Haldonkar’s corner was met by Joaquim Abranches. Pedro Gonsalves provided the final touch to make it 2-1.
Churchill Brothers were deadly in their counter-attack and in the 80th minute, Clencio Pinto played a defense-splitting pass to Uttam Rai. The Sikkimese forward kept his cool to draw level. 2-2.
With the title hopes slipping away, Dempo was awarded a lifeline. Joaquim Abranches was fouled in the box by Shallum Pires and the referee awarded a penalty. With two minutes left in the clock, Suraj Hadkonkar scored under pressure to make it 3-2 and take away three points for his team.
The win takes Dempo to 51 points – level with Goan FC albeit with a better goal difference. The Golden Eagles face the Youn Gaurs in their final league game.
Churchill Brothers have now lost four matches in a row. They are on the fifth spot with 39 points and they will play their final league fixture against Sporting Clube de Goa.
Dempo rally to earn a crucial point
Earlier in the week, Dempo SC rallied to a 2-2 draw against Salgaocar FC in the Goa Professional League match at the Duler Stadium.
Salgaocar took an early lead as Denzil Rebello slotted the ball past a helpless Tyson Caido in the seventh minute. Despite some good possession of the ball, Salgaocar landed a sucker punch in the 35th minute. Chaitan Komarpant dribbled past the Dempo defense and set up Ribhav Sardessai in front of an empty net.
Dempo SC started the second half in a stronger note and the game was played mainly in the Salgaocar half. However, in the 64th minute, Joaquim Abranches danced his way through the Salgaocar defense and put his name on the scoresheet. 2-1
Minutes later, Dempo SC equalized through fortunate circumstances. Jessel Carneiro’s cross from the left flank was deflected into the goal after hitting Salgaocar defender Saurabh Patil.
Joaquim Abranches could have sealed all three points in the dying minutes of the game, but his header was off target.
Gaurs withstand a late charge by the Green Brigade
With four points separating the two teams, Goan FC and Salgaocar FC played out an entertaining five-goal thriller, with all the goals coming in the second half.
The first half saw both teams start on an even footing. Salgaocar striker, Ronaldo Oliveira’s header was collected by Goan FC goalie, Shubhan Dhas. At the other end, Sweden Fernandes failed to get his header on target.
Salgaocar custodian, Nora Fernandes, was called into action when Kingslee Fernandes pounced on a loose ball, while Sanson Pereira’s freekick had to be pushed out for a corner by Shubhan Dhas.
0-0 at half time.
The second half was a different story. In the first minute upon resumption, Sweden Fernandes hit the bar to signal his team’s intent.
The Young Gaurs broke the deadlock in the 55th minute. Lalawmpuia latching on to a pass from Sarineo Fernandes before slotting the ball past Nora. Controversially, the Mizo forward appeared to be in an offside position, which sparked protests from the Salgaocar players and staff – but the referee stood by the lineman’s decision.
10 minutes later, it was 2-0. Liston Colaco controlled a cross from Lalawmpuia, waltzed danced the Salgaocar defense, and beat the keeper to make it 2-0. A few minutes later, it was 3-0. A short corner allowed Liston Colaco to send in a curler past Nora Fernandes.
Salgaocar got one back through Daniel Rebello, who beat two defenders before slotting the ball past Shubham Dhas to make it 3-1 in the 77th minute.
In the 91st minute, it was 3-2 as Devendra Murgaoankar headed in a Sanson Pereira corner. The Young Gaurs held on to the lead to take their tally to 51 points after 20 matches.
Greens and Oranje light up Goa with a 3-3 draw
Salgaocar Football Club was held to an entertaining 3-3 draw by Sporting Clube de Goa in the Goa Professional league at the Duler Stadium.
In an absorbing encounter, Salgaocar who went ahead in the fifth minute. Saeesh Halarnkar capitalizing on some sloppy work by the Sporting defense.
The holders responded through Stendly Fernandes, whose attempt went over the bar. At the other end, Devendra Murgaonkar’s attempt hit the post. Sporting should have equalized in the 35th minute. Stendly Fernandes’ shot parried away by Salgaocar keeper Jason D’Mello, but Glan Martins shot wide in front of an open goal.
Two minutes later, Stendly Fernandes made it 1-1 from a well-taken a freekick. However, Sporting hit back immediately with Akeraj Martins who pounced on another defensive error by Salgaocar to make it 2-1 in the 39th minute.
Minutes before the halftime break, an absolute cracker of a goal into the far corner of the net by Samuel D’Costa made it 2-2.
Salgaocar went ahead midway through the second half. Daniel Rebello, who slotted in place of Ronaldo Oliveira, received a loose ball and beat the keeper with a deft placement to make it 3-2.
Salgaocar was on course to pick up all three points, but the Flaming Oranje was awarded a penalty in the 89th minute. Salgaocar skipper, Godfrey Mascarenhas, adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty box. Clive Miranda stepped up to make it 3-3.
Salgaocar FC ends their campaign season with 46 points after scoring a whopping 70 goals – the highest in the league. Sporting, on the other hand, will face Churchill Brothers and Goan FC in their bid for a top-three finish.