Minesh Kunkolkar scored the only goal of the game for the Academy Boys.

Sesa Football Academy managed to earn a hard-fought 1-0 win over Panjim Footballers in the Goa Pro League match played at Duler Stadium on Thursday. The all-important goal was scored in the 19th minute by Minesh Kunkolkar.

Minesh Kunkolkar, Myran Pereira and Faheez Mohammed were the three changes in the Academy Boys’ side following their 3-2 win over YC Manora in the previous match. Meanwhile, Panjim coach Thome Alex Alvares made the same number of changes in the starting XI which went down to Calangute Association in the last match. Joyson Gauncar, Lakesh Gawas and Chandan Gawas were named in the lineup for the capital city side.

After midfield play in the first 10 minutes, Panjim were the first to come close to scoring. Midfielder Joyson snatched the ball from Sesa’s Russel Vaz and tried his luck from distance. But, Sesa keeper Roanal Gaunkar made a diving effort to push the ball for a corner. They had another opportunity in the 12th minute. Chandan sent a lob pass to his forward Lloyd Cardozo, who unleashed a sparkling strike from inside the box. But, Sesa keeper Roanal once again came up with a brilliant block to keep his side safe.

At the other end, Sesa stunned their opponents with the opening goal in the 19th minute. They were awarded a free-kick just outside the box. Their midfielder Sameer Kashyap found Myran Periera in the box, whose header was brilliantly blocked by Panjim keeper Preston Rego. The ball rolled to unmarked Minesh who made no mistake to slot the ball into the empty net.

Panjim should have equalized in the 25th minute. Lloyd made a diagonal pass to unmarked Joyson in the box, but the lad shot wide with just the keeper to beat. The capital city side saw another potent chance going in vain on the half hour mark. Vallmiky Miranda sent a long ball to find onrushing Lloyd, but Sesa custodian Roanal came out of the box to clear the danger on time.

A few minutes later, Sesa came close to doubling their lead. Sameer made a perfect through pass to Faheez, who easily cut past a defender and curled the ball at the far post. But, Panjim keeper Preston made an easy collection.

The start of the second half again witnessed midfield play. Panjim never came close to equalizing until the 87th minute. They were awarded a free-kick from distance. Their substitute Akash Sanadi went for glory with a direct shot on target, but Sesa keeper once again made sure that the ball remains out the net.

A few minutes before this, Sesa had two clear opportunities to extend their lead. First, substitute Kunal Salgaockar saw his powerful strike blocked by Panjim custodian. Meanwhile, Sameer, after getting hold of the loose ball shot wide from the edge of the box.

The Academy Boys had two more chances at the end of the half, but this time also they could not impact the scoreline. Substitute Stephen Colaco made a through pass to Faheez. He dribbled past Panjim’s last man but failed to put power in his shot, as rival keeper Preston easily collected the ball.

While in the added minutes, Faheez was unlucky not to score. He snatched the ball from Panjim defender Lakesh and beat keeper Preston with his last touch, but the ball rebound off the goalpost. 

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