The capital city side faced their fourth defeat in a row.

FC Goa retained their top spot in the league with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Panjim Footballers in the Goa Professional League match played at Duler Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Saviour Gama’s first half goal was enough for the Junior Gaurs to book all three points from the match, as they climbed to the top position with 29 points from 11 matches, while Panjim are struggling in 11th spot with just four points from 10 outings.

The Goans’ coach Clifford Miranda made four changes to his side which eased past Vasco SC by a 3-0 margin in the last match, as Aaren D’Silva, Nestor Dias, Brian Faria and Serineo Fernandes found their names in the starting XI. Whereas, the capital city side also had few changes to their side following a 4-0 defeat against Salgaocar FC in the last match, as U-20 Dattaraj Gaonkar and Delton Colaco as well as Alston Camatio made it the cut.

The Goan side who were unbeaten in the league took 10 minutes to create their first chance of the match, as Brian sent a superb cross into the box, but Saviour Gama’s weak header was easily collected by Panjim keeper Massom Ali. The Junior Gaurs continued to penetrate the opposition’s defence on a regular basis, but failed every time in the final third.

Despite dominating a major part of the first half with some beautiful play, their midfielder Nestor made an unnecessary and reckless tackle on Panjim’s Prasil Kankonkar in the 31st minute and referee Sunil Nanodkar sent off the Goan lad. Panjim defender Prasil was later substituted due to an injury, as he made way for Joyson D’Souza.

The Goans did not stop their attacks despite playing with a man less as they had the best chance in the 37th minute, when Princeton Rebello curled the ball to Arren in the box, but his shot was acrobatically blocked by the Panjim custodian.


However, in the 40th minute, Saviour put the Goans ahead with a fine header off Aaren’s perfect cross from the right flank, as the Junior Gaurs took a slender 1-0 lead into half-time.

On crossing over, the Goans had the best chance in the early minutes to double their lead as Liston Colaco’s curling free-kick was passed to Aaren in front of goal by Brian, but the lad failed to keep his shot on target.

In the very next minute, Panjim keeper Ali came up with a double save as he first blocked Meldon D’Silva’s header off Princeton’s free-kick, while he once again dived to his right to push Meldon’s attempt off the rebound for a corner.

They had another opportunity to inflate their lead in the 69th minute, when Liston produced a fine cross to Sarineo in the box, but the winger failed to capitalize on an easy chance from inside the box as his strike went wide.

Panjim tried to build pressure on the opponents in the last quarter with several raids, but few were wasted due to aimless shooting from their attackers, while others were negated in the final third by the Goans’ backline.