Sporting Clube de Goa emerged as the top team of the AIFF Under -18 Youth League (Goa zone) after playing a goalless draw against Salgaocar F C at Nagoa grounds, Verna on Thursday.
Sporting who had the better say in the proceedings, failed to convert the chances that came their way in both sessions of play.
Though it was the Salgacoar FC team who showed promise in the opening ten minutes, Sporting Clube de Goa t regrouped superbly, holding possession not in the first half, but the second session, during which time they dominated but failed to score.
Sporting Clube de Goa strikers simply squandered the glorious chances wherein Abhyuday Sabharwal who was fed on a platter twice, once in the first half and the other in the second session delayed to shoot the ball from the six yard box.
Even as Sporting Clube de Goa sent blistering shots towards the rival goal, particularly in the second session, the Salgacoar FC keeper Alison Soares stood bravely under the bar, plucking the ball well to end up with a safe pair of hands.
Salgaocar FC only had three serious forays throughout the 90-minute duel which saw Phezer Gomes trying a long shot in the first session which was held by Sporting’s keeper Akshat Hadkonkar and in the second session it was substitute Aaron Bareto and Chaitan Komarpant who tried to beat the Sporting Clube de Goa keeper but in vain.
As against this, Sporting’s strikers Oswald Fernandes, Abhyuday, Medio Joyson Gauncar, substitute Joston Jonas Cardoz and Trijoy Savio Dias, all had the opportunities to find the mark but their shots were either saved by Salgacoar FC keeper or were off the mark.
Salgacoar FC’s defence which looked vulnerable for the major part of play survived some anxious moments only due to the superb goalkeeping by custodian Alison Soares who demonstrated fine anticipation and firm grip when the ball was fired towards him by Sporting’s players.
Midfield of the boys in green jersey worked efficiently with Oswald Fernandes being the main schemer of the dangerous moves that the team came up with which somehow did not materialise into goals. Salgacoar FC’s Medios could have done much better and the likes of Ribhav Sardesai’s presence would not help much in initiating flowing moves that could bring pressure against the Sporting Clube de Goa defence which did a decent job.
Even in the last few minutes of play, Sporting had some clear scoring opportunities which were spurned away either due to delay in shooting the ball or some good goalkeeping by the Salgacoar keeper who was easily the pick of the lot in today’s match.
With this drawn encounter Sporting Clube de Goa has now collected 17 points in ten matches, while Salgacoar F C is on 15 points in ten matches. The winner and second placed team qualify for the final round, expected to be hosted in Goa. The final match of the group between Churchill brothers and FC Goa will decide whether Salgaocar FC or FC Goa is the next team to qualify from Goa.
In the other match played at Ella ground: Dempo SC swamped Sesa FA 4-1.