CJ Brothers Second Division champs
CJ Brothers Valpoi struggled before they got the better of Clube Athletico de Parra 4-2 in the tie-breaker to win GFA Third Division Bardez zone play-off finals and secure a promotion to the Second Division league.
CJ Brothers emerged on top among 35 teams that participated in the league at four different venues.
Although both the teams had already secured their place in next year’s Second Division League, the championship title was at stake in the final played at St Anthony’s Church grounds, Siolim on Monday.
Both the sides, knowing each other’s style of play, restricted the action mostly to midfield with both the keepers having a field day. CJ Brothers’ defence held by Aksya Vengurlekar and Ashish Gawas gave very little space to the dangerous Parra striker Francis Fernandes to have a good look at the goal. At the other end, Parra defence marshalled by Sanjay Kudalkar and Lawrence Pacheco did well to frustrate Mansoor Khan—the highest scorer in the league—and Sanjay Vagmude.
It was only in the 20th minute of the second half that Abdul Khan let go a stinging shot from outside the penalty box which was parried away to safety by Parra keeper Faiaz Sheikh. Five minutes later, Tyesh Duri set up Abdul inside the penalty box but the strike hit Parra defender for a corner.
Parra had only one dangerous attempt at the rival goal in the closing stages of the match. Francis Fernandes made an individual effort from the right flank as he entered the penalty box and crossed the ball to Aniket, but Valpoi defender Akshaya blocked it.
With the match ending goalless, the match had to be decided with a penalty shootout. Devraj Naik, Gulrez Khan, Mansoor Khan and Abdul Khan converted for CJ Brothers while for Parra side, only Francis Fernandes and Aniket Mandrekar managed to hit the nylons.
CJ Brothers received a glittering winners trophy, while Clube Athletico de Parra received the runners-up trophy from Mr Elvis Gomes, GFA vice-president. Also present were GFA executive committee members Mr Melwyn Menezes, Mr Alirio Lobo, Mr Uday Lingudkar and Mr Gajanand Kerkar. GFA member Mr Babli Mandrekar proposed the vote of thanks.
Individual prizes were awarded to: Best goalkeeper: Faiaz Sheikh (Parra), Best defender: Lawrence Pacheco (Parra), Best midfielder: Abdul Khan (CJ Brothers), Best forward: Mansoor Khan (CJ Brothers), Upcoming player: Arnald Fernandes. [NT]