Benny XI sports club, Mapusa topped the group In the final Bardez group “E” match after holding onto a 1-1 draw with second place Vagator Parish youth sports club in GFA’S 3rd division at Chapora ground on Tuesday. Both goals came before the break.
Before a ball had even been kicked both teams knew that they had qualified for the play offs, but who would finish 1st was yet to be resolved. The draw gave Benny XI the top place with 10 points and a +12 goal difference, while Vagator finished on 10 points and a +7 goal difference. ABC Arambol finished 3rd with 6 points, Arpora sporting fourth with 3 points and Chapora Yuvak Sangh last with nil points.
In a well fought encounter with a lot at stake, Benny dominated possession early on, but Vagator seemed to grow in confidence as the game grew older and had the better chances in front of goal in a match which both teams were shy of finding the target.
In the 13th minute Benny opened the scoring from an unlikely source. Benny’s Calvin D’Souza chipped the ball into the danger zone and a Vagator defender firmly headed the ball past his own keeper, but the match officials were feeling generous and awarded the goal to Calvin.
In the 30 minute, 20 year old Vagator midfielder Stepleton Fernandes scored his third goal in three games as he nearly broke the back of the net with a 30 yard shot which harpooned its way into the top corner of the goal.
In the second session, both teams made changes, with Benny bringing in Bosco Monteiro to take control of the midfield. It was Vagator who showed more urgency, but any instance of narrowing in on the Benny goal, saw a cloud of defenders doing their job effectively.
Benny defender Leoberto Castelino received the only booking of the game in the 76th minute for bringing down his opponent on the edge of the box.
“We are happy to top the group and qualify for the play off’s, but our intention is to eventually be promoted back to the second division,” reasoned Benny coach Jude Fernandes.
“We desperately wanted to win and we tried different things and changed things around, but it was not to be,” stated Vagator coach Ashley Fernandes.
At St Christopher ground, Tivim C.J. Brothers trounced St Christopher sports 8-1, with a brace for Abdul Khan and Sayed Sheikh. Safin Khan, Badami Gaunce, Devraj Naik and Ashish Naik also scored. Anslem Ferrao had initially opened the scoring for St Christopher after just two minutes.
At Tembi ground, Anjuna, a brace from Mohidin Khan and a goal from Diego Fernandes gave St Sebastian sports club a 3-0 win over Holiday sports club.
Friend’s XI, Vaddem sports club defeated Augustias sports club 4-0 at Quitula ground, with a brace each for Frazier Fernandes and Sanjay Mayekar to qualify for the play off’s.
FIRST PUBLISHED IN HERALD ON 20TH SEPTEMBER 2011.