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Navelim stand strong to deny Maina win

Betalbatim: Striker Aulon Gomes’ powerful the 15th minute strike was enough for Navelim Villagers Union to register a solitary goal win against Maina SC and enter the semifinals of late Joao Francisco/Luiza Pacheco Cup football tournament played at panchayat grounds, Betalbatim on Saturday.

The all important goal in favour of Navelim Villagers Union came off when Aulon Gomes ran solo after dodging a couple of rival defenders and on entering the box, unleashed a power-packed effort that gave no chance at all to Maina SC keeper Johnson Bhagat.

The match then began to be played on an accelerating pace as the ball rolled on from one end to the other and a goal looked imminent any time. However, the goalkeepers on either end produced some good saves in both the sessions.

Maina made several attempts to try and find the mark through their ace striker Milagres Fernandes who was blocked in the nick of time of shooting into the goal by an alert Navelim Villagers Union defence.

Navelim’s defender Fr Americo Rodrigues not only marked Maina SC’s Mario who sneaked into the box time and often but also overlapped to send some slicing passes upfront, which went unutilised.

Navelim Villagers midfield marshalled by Climax Lawrence and company gave a good account of themselves and had two neat passes that were distpatched by Climax to striker Aulon who did manage to send good shots to enter the nets; Navelim could have been up by atleast a goal more, if not more.

In the second session, Maina keeper Johnson Bhagat was seen busy under the bar as he pulled some spectacular saves off Navelim strikers Danston Fernandes and Aulon Gomes. In the last ten minutes of play, Maina SC came very close in finding the mark but the Navelim keeper Selvyn proved to be a good pair of hands.

Navelim Villagers Union now meet Betalbatim Sporting Club in the semifinal which is slated to be played today.

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