The western state missed a chance to qualify for the semis with a match in hand…

The Goan strikers failed to capitalise on the chances they created as they registered a frustrating 1-1 draw against Chandigarh in the 71st Santosh Trophy match played at GMC Stadium Bambolim earlier today.

It was a must-win situation for Chandigarh as they have only three points after playing three matches. Their only win came against Meghalaya. Meanwhile, the hosts had defeated Meghalaya in the opening match, while they played out a goalless draw against West Bengal in their last match.

Goa Coach Mateus Costa made four changes to his side from the last match as Leny Pereira, Brian Mascarenhas and Aaren D’Silva found their names in the starting XI. He also brought in Melroy Fernandes replacing Melvin Lobo in between the sticks. While Sunveer Singh made his first start for Chandigarh. He was the only change made by the northern state’s coach Mukesh.

Goa started well and created many chances in the first 15 minutes. In few of these, Brain missed an easy chance to take his side into an early lead when he shot wide from inside the box after receiving a perfect through pass from Liston Colaco. A few minutes later, Liston himself saw his powerful 20-yard free-kick go into the hands of Chandigarh keeper Harpritpal Singh.

At the other end, Chandigarh’s Jatinder Kumar cut past two defenders but shot wide from the top of the box. Goa opened their tally on a counter attack through Aaren. Peter Carvalho initiated the move from halfway as he covered some ground and passed it to Francis Fernandes on the wing, the winger nicely curled it in the box to the striker who made a diving effort to push the ball into the back of the nylons. 

Down by a goal, Chandigarh regrouped and quickly came out with two back-to-back attacks. In one of these, Akash Sangwan tried to find Jatinder in the box but Goa defender Melvin Lobo was quick enough to clear it for a corner.

As the half progressed it was all Goa, as they created several chances but failed to capitalise on the same every time. Liston wasted two open chances to double their lead. First, he cut past few defenders to enter the box but shot wide from inside. Later, Chandigarh keeper Harpritpal brilliantly blocked him in a one-on-one situation. In between this, Aaren played a one-two with Liston and found him inside the box with the ball. However, he misfired from close range.

After wasting so many clear cut chances, Goa went into the breather with just  the lead of a single goal.

The second half saw a more attacking side of the hosts as they were all over the opponents but like in the first half, Goa repeated the same story with the ball in the final third.

At the other end, Chandigarh equalised through substitute Gagandeep Singh. The defender brilliantly made a run on the wing and saw Goa keeper Melroy out of position. Taking advantage of the same, he nicely finished the ball into the net from distance.

Goa gaffer Costa brought in Cajetan Fernandes, Latesh Madrekar and Marcus Mascarenhas in the gap of 15 minutes to make his side sharper in attack but it made no difference to the score sheet till the fulltime whistle. Liston wasted numerous opportunities to take his side in the lead again. However, The Goan striker was not alone in wasting chances as Francis, Marcus, Latesh and Lenny also made it to the list of culprits.

Goa coach Costa was frustrated after his side drew with the northern state, even after having the lion’s share in every department.

“We wasted too many chances and it cost us. We had a great chance to qualify today with a match in hand as the other match’s result favoured us but we missed it. Though we just need a point in the next match we will go for all three points.” Costa said.

In the other match played at Tilak Maidan Vasco, Meghalaya shocked Services as they registered an easy 2-0 win over the defending champions. Dibinroy Nongspung and Bisharlang Kharumnuid scored one each to take all three points for the northeast side. 

With this draw, Goa remain second behind West Bengal, with five points from three matches. Chandigarh climbed to third with four points from the same number of matches. While Services slipped to the bottom of the table with just three points from three matches.