VASCO: Gokulam Kerala FC fought back from a goal down to defeat Sesa Football Academy 4-1 but will need favours from elsewhere to qualify for the semi-finals of the AWES Cup organised by Association for the Wellbeing of Elder Sportspersons in collaboration with the Sports Authority of Goa, at Tilak Maidan, Vasco, on Friday.
Gokulam’s win on Friday, their first in the tournament, has left them with four points.
Sporting Clube de Goa also have four points but enjoy a better goal difference of plus two and now need only a draw against ONGC in their concluding league clash on Sunday to qualify for the semi-finals. ONGC have qualified with six points from their two consecutive victories while Sesa FA finished without a point after losing all three matches.
Needing a big win to stay alive in the competition, last year’s finalists dominated from the start but had the misfortune of seeing their opponents take the lead.
Sesa FA scored their first goal of the match and the tournament when Joston Pereira converted a set-piece from the edge of the box in the 16th minute.
The goal rattled Gokulam who had a giant reputation to protect. The I-League side from Kerala hit back with an equaliser in the 27th minute as Suhair VP capitalised on a goalkeeping error.
The lapse from the goalkeeper proved costly in the end as Gokulam never looked back after getting the equaliser and scored at regular intervals.
In the second session, Gokulam started with their goal-rush, although they had to wait till the 73rd minute to surge ahead for the first time.
Nasar PA gave them the lead with a curler and then secured his second goal in the very next minute by giving finishing touches to a cross from Deepak Kumar.
With four minutes left to be played, substitute Rajesh S joined the goal-scoring party.
It could have been worse for Sesa FA in added time when Gani Ahamed thought he had scored only for Sesa captain and defender Anil Chawan to come up with a goal-line clearance.