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IN CONTROL: Players of Vasco SC and Churchill Brothers fight for ball possession during their match at Duler Stadium on Thursday.

Clencio Pinto denies Vasco SC hopes of holding Churchill Brothers

Duler: Vasco Sports Club opted to defend and that kept the Churchill Brothers away from until substitute Clencio Pinto broke through the plans and scored the only goal to take his team to the top of the Goa Football Association’s (GFA) Goa Professional League table, at Duler stadium on Thursday.

Churchill who has started the Professional League on a high scoring binge was made to sweat inside the Vasco half with the latter’s defenders giving Willis Plaza no breathing space to score. With Willis unable to puff, the Vasco lads – all played in their own half for the major part of the game – managed to keep the ball away from doing harm to their goal.

Churchill midfielders Kalif Alhassan, Israil Gurang and Quan Gomes did try to break the Vasco defence and from the three, it was Goa’s Quan Gomes who stood out with his smart movement of the ball.

With Vasco SC defending heavily in the first session, there was little Churchill Brothers could do – apart from trying to catch the Vasco lads unawares — as the match petered down to boredom.

The only scoring chance that surfaced in the first session was in the dying minutes when Jovel Martin tried to find Plaza with a cross in the box but Vasco skipper Anil Gaonkar made a timely clearance before the forward could do any damage.

Churchill coach Edward Ansah brought in Clencio to replace U-20 forward Preston Fernandes to sharpen the attacking sting and the forward could have scored in the very first minute after coming in when Wendell Coelho found him with a square pass in the box but the striker missed the target narrowly.

Vasco SC made their first noteworthy attack from a counterattack as Suraj Mondal went for the glory from outside the box where Churchill custodian MD Jaffer Mondal failed to collect the ball but managed to keep his side safe in the second attempt.

Vasco substitute keeper Amit Das was also tested in the 67th minute when Clencio dribbled past an opponent to enter the box and tried his luck but Vasco SC custodian brilliantly fisted it over the crossbar for an abortive corner. 

However, the stalemate could not continue further as, in the 71st minute, Vasco keeper Amit could not stop Clencio from scoring as after the latter got a through pass from Plaza and made no mistake in beating the keeper from close to make it 1-0.

Vasco had two opportunities to equalise in the last few minutes of the match, but first Suraj Mondal failed to capitalise on easy chance from inside the box while in the added time he had another opportunity when Cote D’Ivoirian forward Lago Bei came with a fine low cross to him in front of the goal but the midfielder’s strike missed the target narrowly.

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