DULER: Sporting Clube de Goa suffered a big blow to their title race as they were held to a goalless draw by Panjim Footballers in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler stadium on Wednesday.
A point did not make any difference to Sporting’s standing as they remained on the 3rd place with 36 points from 16 matches, whereas Panjim are on the 10th position with 15 points from 21 matches.
Sporting who had defeated Calangute Association in the last match had only one change to their side as coach Mateus Costa brought back defender Alton Vaz in the starting XI, whilst Panjim Footballers also made one change after their 1-2 defeat at the hands of Dempo SC with Cyril Dias finding his name in the starting XI.
At the other end, Sporting created their first chance of the match in the 13th minute when George D’Souza went for the glory from the 30-yard free kick but the lad’s curling shot was brilliantly pushed for a corner by Panjim custodian Sherwin Da Cunha.
Two minutes later, George made a long cross in the box but unmarked Marcus Mascarenhas, who had plenty of time to chest it down, attempted a direct header which flung sky-high from close.
A few minutes later, Sporting had another chance when their skipper Victorino Fernandes made a swift run on the left flank and easily cut past a defender in the box but his shot was excellently blocked by Panjim keeper Sherwin.
Panjim Footballers came out stronger in the second session and made many raids on the rivals. In few of these, first; Cyril made a cross for to Vallmiky Miranda in the box but the medio saw his strike rebound off the crossbar. Ten minutes later, Vallmiky tried his luck from distance but his goal bound shot was nicely pushed for a corner.
Cyril had the best chance to put his side ahead in the 66th minute when U-20 Joyson Gaunkar made brilliant through pass to him in the box but the forward shot wide from 10-yards with just keeper Melroy Fernandes to beat.
Failing to score, Sporting coach Mateus used his all three substitutions bringing in Akeraj Martins, Brandon Gomes and Alesh Sawant but the trio could not make any difference to the scoreline.
Sporting had only one opportunity in the entire session as Akeraj nicely curled the ball to skipper Victorino in the box but the striker’s header from close was brilliantly blocked by Panjim keeper Sherwin.
Sporting tried to build some pressure on the rivals in the added time but the Panjim defence saw to it that the team finished sharing points with their next door neighbours.