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After just three minutes ND Opara finished calmly to give 10 men Churchill Brothers a 1-0 victory over Dempo sports club in the Kingfisher Goa pro league at Duler stadium, here on Sunday.
Dempo came into the match with a win under their belt, while Churchill were in badly need of a win after losing their opening encounter. ND Opara slotted in to give them a hard fought three points after being played in by Jerry Zirsanga in the third minute.
“We conceded early through a silly mistake, which put us on the back foot for the remaining of the game, it is a very disappointing,” remarked Dempo coach Mauricio Afonso.
“The whole team worked hard to grind out the win, as our opponents never gave up and we did not expect them to,” stated Churchill coach Mariano Dias.
Churchill’s central midfielder Jerry Zirsanga was sent off in the closing stages after receiving his second yellow card. His first came in the 50th for a reckless tackle on Dempo’s Ranty Martins, while his second was for unnecessarily wasting time. 
Churchill played a strict 4-4-2. After scoring early they then had the job of keeping out Dempo for 87 minutes. Felix D’souza played brilliantly for Churchill in the goal and was assisted by a very strong defence especially the extremely tall Anton Kovic who blocked anything that moved. Churchill left out Beto and Henri Anchouet which meant they were not so threatening in front of goal.
Dempo were shocked by the early goal and didn’t really recover after that. They had many of their India internationals on show such as Climax Lawrence, Mahesh Gawli, and Debrata Roy but they seemed of the pace, lacking sharpness and will take some time to get back to their best after a tiring last season. 
A mix up within the Dempo defence allowed Jerry to slip the ball through for ND Opara after just three minutes and he only needed one invitation in front of goal to put Churchill ahead.
Ranty Martins and koko Sakibo tried their best to pressurize the Churchill defence but were left frustrated after narrowly missing the target from close.
The hardworking Anthony Pereira swapped from the right to the left wing with Brian Mascarenhas, to try and make some headway, but resorted back to his original position just before the break after having little success.
Fifteen minutes into the second session Anthony crossed for koko but his header was saved. Moments later Churchill substitute Savio Carneiro made a tricky run into the Dempo box, but could not keep his composure and was stopped in his tracks.
Ten minutes from the end Dempo had their best chance of the game, when Anthony crossed for Clifton Gonsalves who did not make the best of connections, but the ball fell to Substitute Nicolau Borges who headed the ball against the bar. From the rebound Felix made a spectacular double save to deny Ranti Martins and then Nicolau, which just about summed up Dempo’s afternoon.

First published in Herald on 14th september 2011.

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Aiden Fernandes netted a fantastic four times as Youth sports club of Colvale thrashed Eagle sports club 8-0 in Gfa’ 3rd division at St Christopher’s church ground, Tivim on Sunday. Colvale scored four in each half. Asher Santa Maria, Filzano Ratos, Anthony Xaiver and Julian D’silva also scored for Colvale.
At Tembi ground, Anjuna, Sai Avtar sports club defeated Guirim youth & cultural club 3-1, with a brace from Abhijeet Salgaokar after Rohan Ratwal initially opened the scoring for Sai Avtar. Dinesh Maltaker netted a consolation goal ten minutes from time for Guirim.

first published in Herald on 12th September 2011.

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Ian Rodrigues scored four fantastic goals as Holy cross sports club drubbed Cunchelim sports club 7-0 in GFA’s 3rd division at St Anthony’s church ground Siolim. Holy cross led through a Hement Rodrigues goal at half time. Prajoy Fernandes and Domnic Alfonso also added to the total.
At St Christopher ground, Tivim, Sirsaim sports welfare and cultural club defeated St Christopher sports club 4-2, with a brace from Floyd Fernandes and goals from Drynan Pereira and Kenny Dias. Nathano Drago and Aasley Alemao reduced the deficit.
At Tembi ground, Anjuna, the match ended prematurely after 55 minutes, when Adarsh Yuvak Sangh went down to six men through injury having started with only seven players. St Sebastian was awarded the three points having led 5-0 at the time with a brace from Steven Fernandes and a goal each for Samuel Almeida, kashinut Usparskar and Diego Fernandes.

First published in Hearld on 12th September 2011.

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A second half brace from Abdul Khan allowed C.J Brothers, Valpoi to defeat BAFF 2-1 in the GFA’s 3rd division at St Christopher’s ground, Tivim on Friday. The match was goalless at the interval.
Akxyn Vergulekar was sent off for C.J Brothers in the 80th minute for his second bookable offence, but he was hardly missed as C.J Brothers were in command by this stage.
Abdul Khan was clearly the match winner for C.J brothers with his immaculate touch, but there were others like Shafin Khan and Sanjay Waghmude when he came on at half time who contributed with his pace closing down quickly.
BAFF played a 4-1-4-1 formation with Suraj kauthankar sitting just infront of the defence. This allowed them to break down their opponents in midfield in the first half, but once BAFF took the lead in the second session early on C.J Brothers seemed to switch on and overpower their opponents.
In the first have C.J brothers came close, but could not break the deadlock, while BAFF tried their luck from too far out which C.J Brothers were quite happy about. The best was yet to unfold after the restart.
Two minutes after the break, BAFF shocked their opponents when Suraj Kauthankar who was one of the shortest players on the field popped up to head home from a corner.
Six minutes later BAFF’s Vishnu Singh did well to run in on goal and place it past the keeper, but C.J Brother’s defender Ashish Gawas spotted the danger early and got back just in time to clear the ball away.
In the 56th minute C.J Brother’s Abdul Khan spectacularly dragged the ball past his marker on the left side and then proceeded to chip the ball ever so delicately, reminiscent of a golfer trying to get out of a bunker which stunned everybody as it flew into the back of the net. 
Five minutes later Abdul moved into a similar position and the defender desperately took him down by his legs. Abdul got up of the floor to convert the penalty by blasting straight down the middle.
In the closing stages BAFF tried to find the equalizer but their attempts were kept out by the C.J Brothers goalkeeper.
At Tembi ground, Anjuna, PVC Parra defeated Holiday sports club 8-0. Holiday started with only eight men but only conceded three at half time. Atish Moraskar and Vijaynanda Shetye netted a brace each. Brian Fernandes, Fortunatae Soares, Joaquim Pacheco and Morgan Fernandes also scored.
At ST Anthony’s church ground, Siolim, FC Siolim overcame Xetrapal Sports club 4-2. Melroy D’Souza opened the scoring for Siolim after just four minutes, but within six minutes Pranay Goltekar put Xetrapal back on level terms. Alexander Fernandes punted in the 33rd minute to restore Siolim’s lead going into the break. Three minutes after the change of ends Joseph Noronha netted before Costa Fernandes stretched the lead in the 70th minute for Siolim. Shavis Ashvekar reduced the margin in the 90th minute.

first published in Herald on 9th September 2011.

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A brace from Nigerian striker Emmanuel Okoro gave new Santa Cruz club of Cavelossim coach Bibiano Fernandes the start he so craved for as they defeated Calangute association 3-0 in GFA’s kingfisher pro league at Poriat ground on Wednesday. Cavelossim led 1-0 at the interval.
Cavelossim’s Emmanuel opened the scoring with his head in the 34th minute and added his second nine minutes from time again through a header. Reagan D’souza scored the goal of the match in the 59th minute with an effort from distance.
Being the first Pro league game at the stadium, there was no entry fee which left a very large crowd to lap up the great atmosphere. Trumpets could be heard and housie tickets were being sold by the dozen.
The Cavellosim team seemed to be enjoying themselves on the mucky turf. Having two foreigners made the difference as they easily won the physical duals.
Calangute in contrast had no foreigners and played with only Drupesh Dessai upfront which left them with limited options. The defence also looked a bit suspect at times and failed to pin down the opposition.
Calangute’s Omkar Singh hit a fantastic shot from distance after just five minutes, but it was pushed away for a corner by the Cavelossim custodian.
In the sixteenth minute Jorex Fernandes tried a shot from outside the box for Cavelossim, but the ball sailed over the bar.
Eight minutes before the breather the ball was played into the Calangute box and the Calangute goalkeeper made a real mess of things as he flew off his goal line, but did not secure the ball, allowing Emmanuel to head  Cavelossoim in front.
On the stroke of half time Calangute nearly found the equalizer when a corner was pushed onto the post by the Cavelossim custodian.
Fourteen minutes into the second half Cavellosim doubled their lead when the ball was neatly played into the path of Reagan d’Souza and he had only one thing on his mind when he rifled it into the bottom right hand corner of the net from 30 yards out.
Both teams continued to make changes mainly to their midfield, as they began to tire. Nine minutes from time Dickson Rogtao crossed from the right side and Emmanuel bravely dived to head in his second and Cavelossim’s third. The final whistle brought jubilation to the faces of the travelling Cavelossim supporters.
In the after match press conference both coaches shook hands and smiled. Bibiano said he was delighted to get the better of his former his coach, but admitted he had learn’t a lot from Vishwas when he was his coach at Sporting Clube de Goa. “It is always nice to start with a win, but I can tell you I also have a lot of respect for Vishwas as a coach, as I played under him.” Bibiano also mentioned that he will only utilize himself as a player if his team is not winning.
Calangute coach Vishwas Gaonkar was not disappointed with the performance of the team but admitted he is desperately low on fire power. “Considering we have only played two friendly matches, I cannot be to upset with the boy’s, there were a lot of positives to take from the game, but we are definitely lacking a striker.

First published in Herald on 8th september 2011.

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Reigning Kingfisher Pro league champions Dempo sports club will get their season underway against Goa Velha sports club at Tilak Maidan, Vasco on Thursday at 4.p.m. Sporting Clube de Goa will take on Sesa football academy at Duler stadium, Mapusa in the other tie.
After finishing runners up in the Super cup and winning the charity cup match recently, Dempo will be looking to prove to fans that they can cope without the midfield pair of Brasilian Roberto Mendes Silva and Nigerian Ogba Kalu who left for Churchill Brothers and Sporting clube de Goa respectively.
Goa Velha who finished seventh in last season’s Kingfisher Pro league will be hoping that lady luck shines on them as they have many injury doubts coming into this explosive encounter. Last season in the league Dempo defeated Goa velha 3-0 and 4-1.
Last season Sporting who finished 2nd and Sesa who ended up sixth, played out a goalless draw in the first game while in the return leg Sesa edged out sporting 2-1. This season Sporting have brought in AFC “A” coaching licence holder Ekendra Singh as their coach, while Clifford Chukwuma is now enjoying his third season in charge of Sesa, who was a former Sporting player and then went on to coach the club.
At the start of the season Sesa striker Gabriel Fernandes joined Sporting, while Sesa brought back midfielder Steven Fernandes who had started his career with the club before joining Sporting. It will be exciting to see if either of them features on Thursday.

First appeared at on 7th september 2011.

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Two big title favourites Churchill Brothers sports club and Salagaocar sports club will go head to head in the Kingfisher Pro League at Tilak maidan Stadium, Vasco on Wednesday at 4p.m. In the other match Calangute sports club will take on Cavelossim at Poriat stadium, Calangute.
When Salgaocar and Churchill met last season in the Kingfisher  pro league, the match ended in a goalless draw, but in the second encounter Churchill managed to edge out Salgaocar 2-1. At the end of the season Salgaocar had the last laugh after securing third place, while Churchill had to settle for a fourth place finish.
Calangute and Cavelossim are both new comers to the Kingfisher pro league so it will be interesting to see how this game pans out. In the GFA 1st division last season Cavelossim had three points deducted for fielding a player on a double booking, which meant that they dropped down to third behind Calangute who capatilised to finish second in the GFA 1st division, so Cavellosim will look to  seek revenge.
This season Cavellosim have brought in 34 year old Bibiano Fernandes as a player cum coach to replace Severino Fernandes who left the club recently after steering the team from the 3rd division to the professional league within a five year period.
Calangute are trained by the experienced Vishwas Gaonkar who incidentally was Bibiano Fernandes’ coach at Sporting Clube de Goa and so the young coach will try to get the better over his old mentor.

First appeared at on 6th September 2011.

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