Match Report - Semi Finals 2017



AGUADA AND LOUTOLIM ENTER FINALS FOR SECOND YEAR IN A ROW

By Cippy D’Cruz

In the first semi-finals of the day, defending Champions, Aguada Waves easily beat Aldona S. C. 4-0.  Much was expected from the North Goa Division Winners Aldona S. C. but it turned out to be an easy win for the Aguada Waves, who entered the finals for the third consecutive year, having won the championships in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

For Aldona S. C. it was so near yet so far.  Time and again Aldona S. C. has excelled in the league phase but for some reasons has failed to continue the same trend in the knock out stage.

The first 15 minutes saw a total dominance by the Aguada midfielders comprising of Ian, Lester, Stephen, Mathew and Casey.  The last named was outstanding weaving his way through the entire defence and making inroads as and when he pleased.

For Aldona S. C., Byron Correia and Calvin Rosario worked tirelessly to feed their forwards.  Upfront striker, Richard Fernandes, who scored two superb goals in the quarter finals, was seen running all over the field to get some help to repeat that performance.  Aldona S. C. missed the former MVP, Wendall Mascarenhas in the mid field, as he was nursing a hamstring injury suffered recently.  It would have certainly made a huge difference to Aldona S. C., as they would have had a better control in the mid field.

Aguada Waves forced the play right from the start dominating the first 25 minutes.  They forced as many as 5 corner kicks.  They were finally rewarded with a goal from Stephen Fernandes, the top scorer in the league.  Stephen following on a beautiful pass by Casey D’Mello flicked the ball past onrushing keeper Ryden Pereira to give his team a 1-0 lead.

In the run of play Aguada Waves were awarded a free kick.  Cruyff Dos Remedios, playing as a central defender was entrusted with the kick. Cruyff adjusting himself to the wall set up by Aldona S. C. took a powerful shot from 25 yards out curving the ball past the wall and past Ryden Pereira beating him to his right to take 2-0 lead for his team.

In the second half Aldona S. C., after a strong briefing and some words of encouragement from their coach Rowan Noronha, started very strongly taking the fight to their opponents.  During this period, Aldona S. C. was unlucky not to cut the margin by a goal or even tie the game.  On both the occasions, the unlucky player was Calvin Rosario.  A long try and a strong free kick both sailing inches off the cross bar.  Even as they continued the pressure by pushing up Gavin Pereira playing alongside Richard and Calvin, it was Aguada Waves that forged ahead.  Mathew Pais, a very promising young player, sent in a great pass to Stephen in the 18-yard zone which resulted in Stephen taking a shot at the net.  The shot was saved by a defender accidentally hitting his hand. The rebound was converted by Shane D’Souza for a 3-0 lead.

In the dying minutes the combination of Ian Fernandes, Andre Pinto, Stephen Fernandes and Casey D’Mello resulted in the fourth goal.  Casey receiving a long pass from Ian Fernandes beat couple of defenders with his splendid foot work while placing the ball past the keeper for the fourth goal of the game.

The second semi-final was a contest between the former Champions Margao Simba and the 2017 League Champions and last year’s Runners- Up Loutolim Goatees.  Loutolim Goatees scored the only goal in the second half to enter the finals for the second consecutive year.

The start of the game saw a well-balanced team in Loutolim who were at full strength.  The same could not be said about Margao Simba who were without their defender and captain Bradley Pereira.

Loutolim came in with a huge reputation having remained unbeaten in the 12 games in the league phase and an easy win in the knock out stage.  The defense was well marshalled by veteran Titus Raje and Joshua Coelho with Neil D’Silva lending a valuable support both in defense and mid field.

Margao Simba on the other hand, handicapped by Bradley’s absence brought in Dwain Lobo-Pires, a regular forward, to play in the defense.

It was a great move, as Dwain played well but this certainly diminished their chances of having an upper hand in attack against the strong Loutolim defense.

The entire game was confined to mid field and hardly any scoring opportunities for both the teams.  Both the keepers Jaydyn George (Loutolim) and Kenneth Viegas (Margao) were not called upon to make any saves.

 

One of GSL’s regular young fan, Alexander(Alex) D’Silva, son of Darryl D’Silva a former star of Aldona S. C., when asked what he (Alex) thought of the game, with 5 minutes to go for the half time said “both the teams are playing too much in the middle, they should open up and play the wingers more”.  It was an unbelievable comment by Alex but so true as both the teams were guilty in too much midfield play in the first half.

True to Alex’s statement, the teams opened in the second half and used the wingers more.  The most dangerous wingers were Brendon Pereira for Margao and Kraig Raje for Loutolim.  Kraig was making some splendid runs down the right flank, winning corner kicks and throw-in’s.  Neil D’Silva taking the throw-in spelt danger every time he was untrusted with one, using the swing of both his hands and reach to send the ball right inside the box.  On the fourth throw-in, within 10 minutes, from the same spot and distance, Loutolim took the much-needed lead.  A long high ball in the box was not intercepted either by Margao’s keeper or by their defenders.  In the ensuing melee that followed Joshua Coelho, moving up from the defense, took a hard shot to beat Kenneth in Margao’s goal to take a 1-0 lead, which eventually turned out to be the game winner.

Try as they did, Margao Simba was unable to fight back to tie the game.  Couple of runs by Dwain Lobo, who moved up after conceding the goal, were in vain.

Aguada Waves will meet Loutolim Goatees in the Finals of the 22nd. Gaudencio Fernandes Memorial Cup, on Saturday September 23, 2017 at Centennial Field “D” at 1:00 p. m.