PANAJI: Goa girls beat Assam to move on to National Football Championship finale.
Goa played with 10 players for more than 70 minutes.
Goa’s Junior Girls’ football team clinched a spot in the finals of the National Football Championship with a resounding 3-0 victory over Assam, despite facing the daunting challenge of playing with a player down for over 70 minutes. Pearl Fernandes emerged as the undisputed star of the match, netting a remarkable hat-trick, with two of her goals coming in the dying moments of the game.
The contest kicked off with confidence oozing from Jonathan Faleiro’s side, and their early dominance was rewarded when they took a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute. Fatima Braganza’s inch-perfect pass found its mark as Pearl Fernandes wasted no time in slotting the ball into the net, leaving the Assam defense in disarray.
Just as it seemed that Goa had taken control of the match, a sudden setback occurred in the 33rd minute when Prissy Pereira was shown a straight red card for a rough challenge, reducing the Goan side to 10 players. This setback forced them to play the remaining 70 minutes with a numerical disadvantage, but Goa remained resolute in their tactics.
Throughout the regulation time, Jonathan Faleiro’s Goan side exhibited tactical prowess, frustrating Assam’s efforts to break through their resilient defense. The slender 1-0 lead held firm, setting the stage for an intense climax.
As the second half went into stoppage time, Goa doubled their lead in dramatic fashion, once again through the brilliance of Pearl Fernandes. Fatima Braganza showcased her playmaking skills yet again, setting up Pearl for her second goal, securing Goa’s place in the final. But Pearl wasn’t finished making her mark on the game; she completed her stunning hat-trick in the 93rd minute.
While Pearl was clinical and composed up front, Goa’s defense showcased top-notch resilience and composure throughout the match. Despite playing with one less player for the majority of the game, their solid defense held firm and ensured that Assam couldn’t find the back of the net. It was a commendable performance that displayed the spirit and determination of Goa’s Junior Girls’ team.