BENAULIM: Second half strikes by Kevin Vaz and Sunny Fernandes helped St Anthony’s SC, Assolda down St Anthony’s SC, Siolim 2-0 and storm into the semifinals of Cana-Benaulim Panchayat Cup football tournament played at St John the Baptist grounds, Benaulim on Thursday.
With the first half remaining goalless, despite both teams having some scoring chances, St Anthony’s Assolda surged into the lead through a penalty kick awarded by referee Merwin Telles who pulled Marna-Siolim attacking midfielder Sahil Pomburpekar for bringing down Assolda’s medio Khristo Fernandes who made a dash for the ball into the box.
Striker Kevin Lobo, who stepped up to take the penalty, made no mistake to beat St Anthony’s Marna-Siolim keeper Salil Chari. This goal came in the 55th minute of play.
Salil Chari who brought off some smart saves in the first half could do nothing to stop the ball from entering the nets, as Kevin sent the ball angularly to provide the lead to his team.
The action in the first half was almost evenly balanced with both teams playing a tough battle to get past each other’s defence. Both teams showed good control over the ball and passing abilities too.
While Caludio Rodrigues and Dakesh Pednekar stood firm in the defence for the Siolim lads, most of the raids were conducted upfront by their attacking midfielders Elton D’Souza and Sahil Pomburpekar, but their efforts were not enough to cause any damage to the Assolda goal.
Marna’s medios Dakesh Pednekar and Joel Fernandes too tried some shots at the Assolda goalkeeper Johnson Fernandes which produced no result.
Assolda’s defence was marshalled well by Khristo Fernandes and Jospeh Fernandes who often were seen overlapping to bring pressure against their rival team. They tried to assist medios Vikky Fernandes and Alton Vaz who combined well with each other and their hard efforts paid off in the second session resulting in goals.
Attacks from the flanks helped the St Anthony’s SC, Assolda team to buttress their lead in the 65th minute after Socoro Fernandes, who excelled in the middle, sent a through pass to Sunny Fernandes who on receiving the ball, took two steps forward and sent an elegant effort to beat the Siolim keeper.
Whatever efforts the Siolim team made, were not sufficient enough to find the mark and even when their strikers sent good shots at the Assolda goal, the goalkeeper remained unbeatable.
Elton and Sahil tried long rangers to try and find the mark, but Assolda keeper Johnson Fernandes excelled with the saves that he brought off.