Margao : A fine brace by teenage sensation Liston Colaco helped Salgaocar FC comfortably overcome Dempo SC 3-0 in a Round 7 clash of the U-18 I-League and thereby seal a place at the final leg to be held later in the year. The Greens along with AIFF Elite Academy had qualified for the final leg of the U-19 I-League from the Goa zone last year and AIFF on the verge of qualification, needing only a single point from their final two outings, it is likely to be a repeat of last season. Coincidentally Salgaocar are the only team thus far in the league stages of the Goa leg to have stolen points from the AIFF this season.
Salgaocar were off the blocks early intent on ensuring they made sure of their tickets to the final leg without leaving it to the final day and dominated all areas of the park from the outset. They were by far the sharper and quicker of the two sides and rarely ever looked like conceding through the course of the game. Skipper Denil Rebello, Daniel Gomes, Karan Shirodkar and Saurabh Patil were all back after missing the last game through suspension and their presence seemed to have a telling effect on the morale of the team. Kaushik Satardekar was handed a rare start and was outstanding at the heart of the midfield along with Denil Rebello.
Using the flanks to good effect, the Greens threatened right from the outset and striker Liston Colaco came close on a couple of occasions using his pace to beat defenders at will. The Greens did however have to wait until the 27th minute to open the scoring. Liston stepped up to take one of the numerous free-kicks that he earned from well outside the box and his screamer drew no response from Ozen Silva in the Dempo goal as the ball crashed into the back of the net.
3 minutes later and the Greens were 2 up after Kaushik let fly from the top of the box after a quick interchange of play with Denil, once again leaving Ozen helpless. Minutes later Kaushik was offered space yet again outside the box and high on confidence from the goal he just scored, his power-packed right footer seemed headed for the top corner but Ozen did brilliantly to pull off an outstanding save. Minutes later Liston’s dangerous free-kick once again brought out the best from the Dempo keeper. On one of the rare occasions that Dempo did attack, Aaron D’Silva tried an audacious scissor kick from inside the box, his effort sailing high and wide.
Changing ends, Salgaocar kept up the pressure and Ruflan came close to adding a third as his effort from about 25 yards out came off the crossbar after being set up by Liston. Around the 70th minute mark however, the Greens were rewarded with their third of the evening. A beautiful overhead ball played by Kaushik saw Liston display stunning control to chest the ball down and side step his man in one go before finding the back of the net with an absolute peach.
The Greens and Liston in particular did create a few more chances before the final whistle and ran out worthy winners on the worthy winners. They play the AIFF Elite Academy in their final outing but will have their sights firmly set on a good showing when they go head-to-head against the best in the country in the final leg.