Vasco: Salgaocar FC Jrs. (U-20) fought valiantly until the final whistle, but eventually went down fighting 2-5 to Tuff Laxmi Prasad SC in the finals of the 13th Goa Police Cup played at Tilak Maidan, Vasco earlier this evening. The winners led 2-0 at the breather.
Salgaocar’s youngsters were always going to be up against it as Tuff fielded a full strength side that included the likes of Climax Lawrence, Micky Fernandes, Nicholas Rodrigues, Biju Kumar and Nigerian striker ND Opara. Both sides saw a lot of the ball in the early exchanges with the ball mostly confined to the midfield and no real clear cut chances created in the first quarter. Tuff did however break the deadlock in the 27thminute. A corner from the left resulted in a goal mouth melee with the ball falling kindly for Biju Kumar who was well placed to slot home.
Salgaocar could have drawn level 8 minutes later but spurned a glorious opportunity as Naro Hari’s spot kick crashed against the upright and went out. This after the player was brought down by keeper Kunal Sawant. Tuff did most of the running but had to resort to shooting from distance as the Salgaocar defence held firm.
Tuff however did match to double their lead just before the breather as a fierce free-kick taken by Micky Fernandes from about 25 yards out saw Rohan Sheikh pull off a fine save. However, Nicholas Rodrigues who was lurking slotted home the rebound.
Salgaocar’s juniors did come out in the second period looking to find a way through the Tuff defence and managed to create a number of opportunities. Harmanjot Singh on the right in particular kept the Tuff defence on their toes sending in some fine crosses. On one such occasion, Naro failed to make decent contact and the ball was scrambled out. Minutes later, Myron Borges had a shy but Kunal Sawant was up to the task.
IN the 70th minute, Tuff scored a third when a wicked deflection off a free-kick landed at the feet of Mackroy Peixoto who found the back of the net from close range. Despite trailing by 3 goals to a far superior side, Salgaocar’s juniors weren’t about to give up without a fight. Harmanjot Singh controlled beautifully on the box, beat his man and smashed the ball to the right of Kunal Sawant leaving him rooted.
At 3-1, the Greens went all out and almost pulled back another, but Myron’s effort was smartly saved by the Tuff keeper. The game was put beyond the Greens when Tuff scored 2 in quick succession in the 83rd and 85th minute, first through Agnelo Colaco and later through ND Opara.
Salgaocar did score their second in the 90th minute when Stefen Fernandes brought down beautifully a cross from Raja from the left and smashed home with his left foot. Despite being on the wrong side of a 5-2 score line, Salgaocar’s teenagers exceeded all expectations by making the finals and overall gave a really good account of themselves.
The winners took home a glittering trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 2 lakhs whilst the Runner-up received a trophy and were richer by Rs. 1 lakh. Mackroy Peixoto was voted the Man of the Match whilst Nicholas Fernandes of Churchill Bros. SC finished as the tournament’s highest goal scorer.