Sporting Clube de Goa Under-16s held their nerve in crucial moments to beat Sesa Football Academy in the GFA’s U-16 North Zone Finals.
Rohit Totad (57’) put the young Oranje ahead but Yuvraj Gaonkar (80’) scored the late equalizer for SESA FA. The game locked at 1–1 when the final whistle went off, headed into penalty shootouts. Sporting Goa skipper Aman Govekar lead from the front as he scored the first penalty for his side and then switching roles with his keeper to save a crucial fourth penalty from Sesa Football Academy which virtually sealed the game in favour of Oranje. Alister Anthony, Richard Cardozo and Beeven Montero were the other players on target for Sporting while Omkar Shetgaonkar and Shridharnath Gawas netted for Sesa Football Academy.
Sporting Goa enjoyed the lion share of possession in the first half while Sesa Football Academy relied mostly on counter attack trying to catch the Sporting Goa defence by surprise. However Sesa Football Academy were the first to have a close look at Sporting Goa goal as their tall defender Beckham Xavier leaped high into the air to head a good corner into the nets, some good reflexes from Beevan Montero on the goal line ensured Sporting Goa didn’t have to do the catching up.
At the other end it was Alister Anthony and Aman Govekar who combined well with Dattaraj Gaonkar in the middle to break down the Sesa Football Academy defence. Dattaraj with his flawless passing bossed the midfield by a yardstick making things easy for the young Oranje upfront. In the 31st minute Alister made a good run on the left to get a powerful on target shot but was saved by the Sesa Football Academy custodian, the rebound was then struck by Aman which was once again heroically kept out by the keeper. Sesa Football Academy should have made it 1-0 when their midfielder Shridar Naidu came one vs one against the charging Sporting Goa keeper and chipped him, but the ball spun way too much and drifted off the net. Sporting Goa had their best opportunity in the 43rd minute when Aman dribbled past two defenders to get a clean strike but was once again denied by the keeper Alister Coelho. It stayed goalless at the end of first half.
Changing ends both teams went full throttle trying to find the crucial goal early. Sporting Goa drew the first blood just before the hour mark when an Alister Anthony shot was punched back by the Sesa Football Academy keeper straight to Rohit Totad who headed it in giving the Panjim side the goal they were hunting for. After going ahead, the Sporting Goa defence was fortified and Sesa Football Academy forwards found very little room to operate upfront, they heavily relied on set pieces to scramble something. One such move paid off when an Omkar Arondekar free kick found Yuvraj Gaonkar at the right spot in the Sporting gia box, the latter headed it in bring parity in the score board.
With no winner at the final whistle, the match headed into penalties. Sporting Goa lads displayed some fine character as they went ahead to win the match 4–2 on penalties lifting the North Goa U-16 Champions title. Sporting Goa lads now face Salcete FC in the finals of the GFA’s U-16 Championship.