Navelim Villagers Union entered the semi-finals of the 1st Balaji Ambe memorial football tournament when they registered a 5-3 tie-breaker victory against strong contenders Guardian Angel SC at school grounds, Cuncolim on Wednesday. The teams played a 1-1 draw during the normal period of play.
It was the Guardian Angel team that went into the lead in the 13th minute of the first session of play through a goal scored by Blindon D’Costa. However, Navelim Villagers Union, who took time to settle down, began to weave rings round the Guardian Angel citadel after some time and restored parity through Jordan Gomes who gave no chance to the rival keeper with an intelligent tap that sent the ball to the far corner of the nets in the 25th minute of play.
The match began on a slow pace in the initial ten minutes and then as both the teams settled well, the momentum picked up as the ball rolled from one end to the other.
Taking the strong Navelim Villagers Union defence by surprise, Guardian Angel scored to move up when Mario Mascarenhas sent a defence-splitting pass to Blindon D’Costa whose powerful shot beat the Navelim keeper Jonathan Faleiro.
The match then began to be played at a fast pace and both the teams had some shots at the goal which were off the target.
After constant pressure, Guardian Angel citadel fell following a flag kick taken by veteran and former Dempo SC player Orlando Viegas who floated the ball well to Jordan Gomes whose smart tap kept the Guardian Angel keeper Jovel Coutinho just standing under the bar.
The second session saw chances galore for both the teams. While Savio Mascarenhas missed an easy sitter for the Guardian Angel team from very close distance sending the ball over the bar, Navelim Villagers Union too messed up easy opportunities.
Guardian Angel’s Blinto Costa, Benny Oliveira and S Sheikh worked very hard to try and score but the Navelim defence stood firm and foiled all their attempts.
On the other hand, Navelim’s Jordan Gomes and Sanford Cardozo sent some long rangers which the Guardian Angel keeper Jovel did well to collect with ease.
As the teams were involved in a 1-1 dead-lock during the regulation time, the tie-breaker system had to be adopted in which Navelim Villagers Union proved to be better shooters scoring accurately through Alister Gomes, Bervin Teles, Sanford Cardoz and Rovel Gomes.
Guardian Angel could find the mark only through Alison Fernandes and Aldron Fernandes.
Navelim Villagers Union now await the winners of Cuncolim Union vs United Club of Benaulim to clash in the semi-finals. [NT]