Goan FC (FC Goa DEV) clinched the 2018/19 Goa Professional League with a 2-0 win over their closest rivals Dempo SC. Last years’ champions Sporting Clube de Goa finished third with a win over Churchill Brothers.
Meanwhile, Sesa Football Academy has sealed the GFA first division title to secure promotion to the 2019/20 Goa Professional League.
A banger and a howler seal the title for Goan FC
Goan FC are the champions of the 2018/19 Goa Professional League. The development squad of FC Goa beat Dempo SC 2-0 in the final match of the season.
Coming into the match, the two teams were locked on 51 points from 21 matches. The previous encounter between the two teams ended 4-2 in favor of Goan FC. With the head-to-head rule coming into the picture, Dempo had to register a win.
Playing at their home ground at the Dempo Academy Ground, Ella, Dempo started the match on the front foot and could have gone ahead in the eighth minute, however, Pedro fluffed his lines.
Soon after the Young Gaurs put Dempo keeper, Tyson Caido, under pressure. Savio Gama’s freekick hit the crossbar while a long-range effort by Mizo striker Lalawmpuia also rebounded off the post. The keeper was called into action when Serineo Fernandes was put through by Kingsley Fernandes.
At the other end, Joachim Abranches had the opportunity to put Dempo ahead when he pounced on Goan FC Meldon Silva’s error. His shot was saved by the Goan FC custodian to keep the score at 0-0.
Goan FC went ahead in the 23rd minute. A long-range effort by Hayden Fernandes from 30 yards did not have any answer from Tyson. The midfielder scoring only his second goal in the league.
Needing a win to Dempo went all out to look for the equalizer. However, their hopes were dented when Dempo’s last defender, Edwin, passed the ball straight to Liston Colaco. The winger played the ball square to Lalawmpuia scored his 10th goal of the league to make it 2-0 in the 38th minute.
Dempo SC started the second half well with Floyd’s shot from outside the box put the rival goalkeeper under pressure.
In the 59th minute, Goan FC were reduced to 10-men when Savior Gama was sent off for his reckless tackle on Kritikesh. Despite being a man down, the youngsters proceeded to shut down the Dempo attackers and held on to their two-goal lead until the final whistle.
Sporting Clube de Goa seals the third spot
Sporting Clube de Goa scored a 2-1 win over Churchill Brothers SC at the Duler Stadium to finish third in the league. Marcus Mascarenhas scored a brace for the winning side, while Uttam Rai pulled a goal back for the losing team.
Earlier in the week, Sporting Clube de Goa registered a 2-0 win over Goan FC at the Nagoa ground. After a goalless first half, the deadlock was broken in the 61st minute. Cajetan’s through ball to Trijoy Dias in the flanks was crossed into the box to Akeraj Martins. The forward beat the offside trap easily to tap in the opener.
Minutes later, the development side of FC Goa was handed an opportunity to level the score. A clearance by Clement hit his teammate’s arm in the 18-yard-box, giving the referee little option but to point to the penalty box.
Liston Colaco stepped up to take the spot kick. However, his shot was brilliantly saved by Sporting Clube keeper, Melroy, as he dived to his right to deny the ISL player.
Akeraj Martins put the game to bed in the 79th minute with another tap in to hand Goan FC their second defeat of the season.
Sporting Clube finished their campaign with 47 points, one ahead of Salgaocar FC who finished fourth with 46 points. Churchill Brothers finished fifth with 39 points after a fifth straight loss.
Sesa FA promoted to 2019/20 Goa Professional League
Sesa Football Academy sealed their promotion to the 2019/20 Goa Professional League following 1-0 win over Dempo Sports Club Juniors and 4-3 win over Salgaocar FC Juniors in the GFA 1st Division League matches.
The tally of 34 points from 13 games is enough to secure their qualification. They will replace Bardez FC, who were woeful in the 2018/19 season.
Backed by the Vedanta Group, Sesa Football Academy was founded in 1999 for the development of local talent in football.
Six-point walkover questioned
Dempo SC coach Samir Naik lamented over the two walkovers by Goan FC opponents, Vasco SC and Guardian Angel SC, in the closing phase of the league.
“The title was gifted to the opponents even before the kick-off. There is no point talking about the six points now as everyone will feel I am trying to defend myself,” said Naik.
Vasco and Guardian Angel failed to field their teams against Goan FC owing to the release of their players. The league stretched over a month of the actual schedule and the clubs did not have the funds to hold on to their players.
Goan FC did benefit from the rescheduling of the matches, especially during their participation in the group stage of I-League Second Division.
GFA Vice President Lavinio Rebello said, “The teams should sustain for at least six to eight months. They can’t give excuses. This year we had the league stretched a bit and that is because of the request of few clubs who wanted to represent at a National tournament.”
The six-point walkover is a massive advantage for any team, especially when they are vying for the title. Moreover, both Vasco and Guardian Angel walked off scot-free without any fines imposed on them.
(With inputs from Herald Goa)