~ Developmental Team beats Dempo 2-0 in season finale to clinch title~
Goa Khabar: FC Goa clinched their first Goa Pro League title here at the Ella Ground in Old Goa after overcoming Dempo SC 2-0 in the season finale. The Developmental Teams (U23) went into the game level on points with Dempo after 21 games. The Gaurs, though, had the advantage on head-to-head, having beaten the Golden Eagels 4-2 in the first leg.
There, however, was no need to look at head-to-head come the final whistle as goals from Hayden Fernandes and Lalawmpuia helped the young Gaurs to the crown.
The Developmental team went off to a blistering start, hitting the woodwork 3 times in the opening 12 minutes of the game. Dempo themselves had two chances of their own, but a combination of bad finishing and Shubham Dhas’ presence in the FC Goa goal was enough to keep the Golden Eagels at bay.
The breakthrough finally came in the 22nd minute when Hayden Fernandes scored a goal worthy of winning the title. The midfielder found room around 30 yards out before unleashing a rasping drive which found the top corner, leaving the keeper grasping at thin air.
The 38th minute of the game saw the young Gaurs double their lead when Liston Colaco broke free on the left. The winger-cum-forward did well to go past his man before cutting it back into the middle for Lalawmpuia. The man from Mizoram took a touch to set the chance up for himself before slotting it past the keeper.
Lalawmpuia and Hayden further tested the keeper from long range at the fag-end of the first forty-five only to be denied by the keeper.
The second half saw Saviour Gama given a straight red card for a forceful tackle in the 58th minute. However, in spite of having a numerical disadvantage, the FC Goa defence never looked like faltering. The youngsters saw out the rest of the minutes with much oomph to help the club lift its first ever Goa Pro League title.
The FC Goa Developmental team finished the season with 17 wins from their 22 games, helping themselves to 54 points – 3 ahead of Dempo in second place.