Irfan Yadwad scored both goals for the victors.

Irfan Yadwad scored in both halves as Panjim Footballers edged past Youth Club of Manora by a 2-1 margin in the GPL match played at Duler Stadium. The Panjim forward put his side ahead in the 26th minute. Meanwhile Md. Farid scored in the 70th minute for the South Goa side to put things level. However, Irfan netted the winner in the 89th minute to ensure all three points for Panjim.

Manora made many changes to his side. Sweden Barbosa, Jayson Lucas, SK Azaruddin and Avik Guha were back in the lineup. Panjim also made a few changes to their team. Shridar Naidu along with Deep Pednekar and keeper Joe Bence made the cut.

The match came alive in the 11th minute when Panjim midfielder Deep sent a pass to Shridar. He swiftly darted in the box, but the lad delayed to pull the trigger and a Manora defender cleared the danger on time. Manora defender Prosenjit Chakroborty brought down the Panjim player just outside the box. Thus, he gave a free-kick in the dangerous area, but Irfan’s set-piece hit the wall.  

Manora also came close to scoring against Panjim in the 19th minute. Midfielder Jayson made a quick run into the box and shot on the goal. But, the Manora striker’s shot was brilliantly pushed for a corner by Panjim keeper Joe.

However, Panjim surged ahead of Manora in the 26th minute, as Janio Fernandes found Irfan with a long free-kick. He quickly blasted in the net from just inside the box to put the capital city side ahead. 

At the other end, Manora created a swift attack as Md Farid snatched the ball from Panjim defender Maresto Fernandes. He then tried his luck after getting into the box, but Panjim keeper Joe rescued his side with a diving effort.

Panjim had a chance to double their lead against Manora in the dying minutes of the first half. Irfan found himself with just the rival keeper in front of him, but custodian Md. Tarique came off his line to thwart him in a one-on-one situation.  

Manora, who were trailing by a goal, came out attacking in the second half against Panjim. They almost found the equalizer in the 47th minute as Arghya Roy nicely curled the ball in the box to Nicklas Noronha. His sparkling strike rebounded off the crossbar. A minute later, Manora came with another quick attack. Azaruddin, after covering some ground sent the ball into the box, where Panjim defender Janio clearly handled it. However, the referee denied the penalty for the South Goan side.

Panjim also had a chance to inflate their lead in the 57th minute against Manora. Substitute Akash Sanadi sent a through pass to Irfan. He swiftly overlapped two of his opponents to get on the ball. But, his shot deflected off Manora defender Rajinder Kumar before going out for a corner. 10 minutes later, they had another opportunity when Akash nicely danced past a few opponents in the box. He then curled the ball to Shridar but the midfielder shot over the crossbar.

At the other end, the Manora side managed to level back against Panjim in the 70th minute. A perfect corner by Azaruddin was brilliantly headed in by Farid to make it 1-1. Manora almost took the lead in the 73rd minute when Azaruddin once again curled the ball to Farid in the box. This time, the forward’s header was denied by the woodwork. The ball again rolled to Farid, but this time Panjim keeper Joe was quick enough to collect a goalbound strike.

However, it was Panjim who had the last laugh in the match against Manora. Irfan darted into the box after receiving a through pass from his teammate. He made no mistake to finish the ball in the net in the 89th minute, sending all his teammates into raptures.

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