Fatorda: Churchill Brothers FC, Sporting Clube de Goa, Dempo SC and FC Goa made it to the semifinals of Goa Police Cup 2019 after registering wins in their respective quarterfinal matches played on Sunday.
In the semifinals to be played on Tuesday, Churchill Brothers will take on Sporting Clube de Goa at Duler stadium while Dempo SC will clash with FC Goa at Dempo SC Academy ground, Ella.
At Fatorda, a goal each by their foreign strikers — Spaniard Joaquin Barbero and Trinidadian Willis Plaza — in either half saw Churchill Brothers FC register a convincing 2-1 win against Salgaocar FC.
Churchill Brothers went into the lead in the 28th minute when medio Quan Gomes stole a ball from the rival defender and sent a smart pass to newly recruited Spanish striker Joaquim Barbero who dodged his way into the box and then gently sent the ball to the far corner of Salgaocar FC nets, beating keeper Nora Fernandes.
Even as the first half proceedings largely belonged to Churchill Brothers, during which time they missed a number of scoring chances, Salgaocar FC hit back early into the second session to level the score through striker Saeesh Halankar. Godfrey Mascarenhas floated a direct free kick inside the box to Saeesh who leaped high and sent an angular header to completely deceive the Churchill Brothers FC keeper Kunzang Bhutia.
The second half proceedings which were played on level terms looked interesting with both the teams vying for supremacy. Both the teams had good chances to find the mark but the defence on either side kill all the menacing moves.
Willis Plaza who was tightly marked by the Salgaocar defence finally broke the shackles and scored the match winner in the 68th minute off a cross by Israil Gurung. The Trinidadian rose above the rival defenders and sent a powerful angular header that crashed to the far end of Salgaocar FC nets.
With just four minutes left for the final hooter, both the teams were reduced to ten men as referee Jose gave marching orders to Salgaocar FC’s Godrey Mascarenhas and Churchill’s Willis Plaza.
The incident occurred when Godfrey pulled the pants of Willis Plaza, who was dashing towards the box. Annoyed by Godfrey’s continued irritating act, Willis tried to stretch his hand which the referee possibly misjudged to be aiming at Godfrey and therefore flashed the red card to him as well. The Trinidadian will miss Churchill’s semifinal match against Sporting Clube de Goa to be played at Duler grounds on September 17.
Churchill Brothers’ first goal as well as the match-winner bore the stamp of a class. Willis and Barbero worked in tandem as they were placed on either side of the rival box. Willis on the left flank and Barbero slightly on the left on the top of the box and this confused the Salgaocar FC defence. It was Quan’s intelligence which paved the way for Churchill to score an easy goal. Quan instead of passing the ball to Willis gave it to Barbero, who neatly placed it in, sending the Salgacoar FC keeper on the other side.
Defender N Suresh Meitei was easily the best among the lot in the Churchill Brothers camp as he overlapped a lot and also defended well by falling back whenever required.
Though Churchill Brothers dominated the first half, they had some tough time in the second session. Salgaocar FC played the match without six of their regular players who are in the Goa senior team, but they fought hard and gave an indication that they cannot be taken lightly. However, their efforts seemed not enough as Churchill prevailed. Willis Plaza could have scored a brace, but his shot hit the cross bar and moved out towards the end of the match.