FC Goa secure qualification to RFDL National Group Stage following unbeaten campaign in regional stage

Following their 1-0 victory over Sesa Football Academy in their final match of the Goa Qualifiers at the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) on Saturday, FC Goa secured a spot in the next stage of the competition, set to be played at the national level starting later in April.

Makan Chothe scored the only goal of Saturday’s clash to lead the Young Gaurs to the eighth win of their campaign from ten games. With the other two matches ending in draws, they remained unbeaten throughout the regional level prior to qualifying for the RFDL National Group Stage.

In addition to Chothe, Deggie Cardozo’s starting lineup against Sesa featured three other FC Goa First Team members in goalkeeper Hrithik Tiwari, defender Nikhil Prabhu and midfielder Lalremruata HP.

As the game progressed, Goa established control over the proceedings with Lalremruata and Vellington Fernandes dictating play efficiently from the midfield. The much-deserved breakthrough came in the 39th minute, through Makan Chothe’s goal.

The Manipuri winger capitalised on a defensive gaffe by an opposition player, to win the ball right at the edge of the box before slotting it past the onrushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Early on in the second period, the boys in Orange came close to doubling their lead on two separate occasions.

A left-footed volley by Lalremruata beat the ‘keeper but struck the post before it was cleared away. Five minutes later, substitute Saish Gaonkar received a pass inside the six-yard box and attempted a shot, but narrowly missed the target.

The closing stages of the clash saw Sesa FA throw the kitchen sink in search of an equalizer. They also managed to get the ball into dangerous areas on a number of occasions.

Some astute defensive work by Prabhu and captain Rayan Menezes, however, helped the Gaurs preserve their lead as they eventually won 1-0.

With 26 points from 10 matches, FC Goa have hence wrapped up their RFDL Goa Regionals campaign as the table-toppers. Next up for them now, is a Hero 2nd Division League assignment against Hyderabad FC Reserves at the Nagoa Panchayat Ground on Sunday.

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