Salgaocar upbeat before U-18 I-League semi-final

By Shoubhik Mukhopadhyay
I-League Media

NEW DELHI: Salgaocar FC, the predominant Hero I-League entrant from Goa, have showcased their true grit in U-18 age group this season and have overcome may an obstacle to book the semi-final date with Tata Football Academy.

The Greens kicked off with a lively win over Sports Authority of India-Goa when Mahesh Kumar, Ruflon Fernandes and Stephen Satardekar hit the target. Ruflon and Flester found the back of the net again in their next fixture against the Flaming Oranje. Super-sub Roald Oliviera exploited most against Dempo Sports Club and scored 4 goals in the second half and registered a 4-1 win over them. Their next match against Elite Academy was a humdinger to watch out for and they snatched a point against the reigning champions. Lalit Tariyal scored in either half of the match against Sporting Clube de Goa, but those two goals weren’t enough and they tasted their first defeat in the U-18 I-League. Salgaocar FC revived their form and came back strongly against Dempo Sports Club when Liston Colaco, the prolific striker, found the net twice and dashed their local rivals. Having already secured a spot in the National finals, Salgaocar FC came out to take on the group champions AIFF Elite Academy in their final group encounter. Although the result didn’t come in their way, their performance earned plaudits from the football pundits.

The Greens were drawn with Aizawl FC, Pune FC, Royal Wahingdoh and East Bengal in group B. The Goa outfit sent out a strong message in their first match itself against East Bengal in their backyard, Liston Colaco was right on the business and he scored in both halves of the match. Their sturdy defence and the solitary striker by none other than Liston earned their second win in the National finals, that too against Pune FC, one of the tournament heavyweights. Having secured two back-to-back wins, Salgaocar FC had to taste a sour defeat against Aizawl FC. In the decider, Salgaocar FC edged past Royal Wahingdoh to set the semi-final date with Tata Football Academy.

Salgaocar FC gaffer Anthony Pereira is confident before the crucial semi-final, “The boys deserve all the accolades for their outstanding show in the U-18 I-League. If we can play to our potential, we can win the U-18 I-League.” Salgaocar FC have an uphill task against Tata Football Academy in the semi-final, once they overcome the hurdle, they might face AIFF Elite Academy in the grand finale, “Yes, we are aware of the possible all-Goa clash and we are confident to turn the table now. We are the only team to steal a point from them in the zonal round. Once the boys play to their true potential, we can win the final.”

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