Princeton Rebello’s first-half strike helped Goan FC to secure a hard-fought 1-0 win over Bardez FC in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Saturday.
With this win, Goans are placed 3rd with 39 points from 16 matches, while Bardez are at the bottom of the table with just six points from 20 matches.
Bardez coach Savio D’Souza made four changes to his side which suffered a thumping 8-1 defeat at the hands of Sporting Clube de Goa in the last match as Luis Miranda, Anil Palyekar, Nihal Parab and goalkeeper Hrushikesh Kinalekar made it into the cut, whereas, Goan’s coach Clifford Miranda made many changes to his side which defeated Calangute Association in the previous round as Varun Mathur, Hayden Fernandes, Aaren D’Silva, Zodingliana Tochhawng, Lesly Rebello and Sweden Fernandes were named in the starting XI.
Though both the sides started with attacking football, it was Goans who created the first potent chance of the match in the 4th minute as Aaren after receiving a through pass from Sweden went for the glory from just inside the box but Bardez keeper Hrushikesh who made the debut in the Pro League came with a fine save to keep his side safe.
Goan once again came close to scoring in the 18th minute when Zodlingliana tried his luck from the distance, only to see it missed by a few inches.
After missing two close chances, Goans finally break the deadlock at the half-hour mark as Princeton gelled up with Kingslee Fernandes who set up the junior India international with a superb pass in the box. The latter made no mistake to finish the ball in the back of the net from close to put his side ahead.
They had another chance to inflate their lead as Hayden brilliantly curled the ball from the free-kick but his goalbound effort was excellently fisted over the crossbar by Bardez custodian Hrushikesh.
Goans continue to dominate in the second session and marched many times on the rival’s citadel. In one of these, Sweden sent a pass to Lalawmpuia in the box but the forward’s strike deflected off Bardez defender before going out for a corner.
Sweden was once again in the action in the 67th minute as he easily dribbled past few opponents and found Hayden with a short pass whose shot was brilliantly directed in the goal by Lalawmpuia with a header but the forward’s joy was cut short by the post.
Another easy opportunity went into vain in the 76th minute as Kapil’s low cross set up Sweden in the box but the midfielder failed to beat Bardez keeper Hrushikesh from inside the box.
Princeton also had a chance to complete his brace and double the lead for his side in the last quarter but the creative midfielder saw his sparkling freekick hit the crossbar.