Brian Mascarenhas celebrated his preliminary selection to the India U-22 squad with a goal that turned out to be the winner as Dempo Sports Club Juniors stormed into the finals of the GFA U-20 Taca Goa competition pipping Churchill Brothers 1-0 at Nagoa grounds on Monday.
Dempo Sports Club will now meet Sporting Clube de Goa in the finals to be played at the Poriat ground in Calangute. Coach Mathew D’Costa started with a strong line up that had the likes of Goa Professional League players like Mandar Rao Dessai, Shallm Pires, Romeo Fernandes and Brian Mascarenhas in the ranks. There was plenty at stake for the Dempo juniors with senior team head coach Armando Colaco watching from the stands. Dempo dominated proceedings early on and were unlucky not to take the lead in the third minute itself. Tunard Fernandes’ brilliant play saw him being brought down just outside the box. The resultant freekick was taken by Brian who floated the ball brilliantly to Shallum Pires. Just as Shallum was about to send the header goalwards, Churchill defender Nicholas Fernandes tried to clear resulting in a clash of heads forcing the Churchill defender to leave the field with a badly injured jaw.
Dempo took the lead in the 17th minute when a brilliant floater to the far post from Micky Vaz in midfield saw Brian Mascarenhas meeting the cross and placing it beneath the Churchill keeper to give Dempo the lead. Dempo then dominated possession but failed to get shots on goal. Mandar Rao Dessai playing on the right was impressive with his cut-ins while Micky Vaz was the standout performer in the centre of midfield outshining his fellow midfielder Romeo with some brilliant balls.
In the second half Dempo preferred to sit back and soak up the pressure trying to hit Churchill on the counter. That ploy nearly worked in the 72nd minute when Mandar Rao Desai after playing some good moves with Micky saw him in an advanced position–one on one with the keeper–but the Churchill custodian denied Mandar with a fantastic block. Dempo held on to the lead and secured a place in the finals against Sporting Clube de Goa on Thursday. Coach Mathew D’Costa was pleased with the performance of his young turks especially his defenders after two of their regular starters Bharat Thapa and Jesmon Carvalho missed the last two games due to exams. Jeovito Fernandes and Shallum Pures were outstanding in defense. “I am very pleased with the performance of my team especially the defenders who played their heart out. I hope we continue the good work in the final.” he said.