Kolkata, August 19: FC Goa's development team won the hearts though not the battle as they bowed out out of the Durand Cup owing to an inferior goal difference after a goalless draw against I League side Real Kashmir FC at the Kalyani Stadium.
Kashmir got the first clear sight of goal but it was the young Gaurs who looked dominant in the opening exchanges in the match which had its share of highs and lows.
The result meant Clifford Miranda's boys ended the group stage with seven points from their three games, but failed to qualify for the semis with Real Kashmir's goal difference of +5 helping them get into the top four over Goa's +2.
Full time at the Kalyani Stadium where our very young developmental team matched a formidable opponents, Real Kashmir toe to toe! But it wasn't to be as we end our Durand Cup campaign unbeaten and as runners up of Group C.— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) August 17, 2019
Only upwards from here, boys!👆#NowWeRise #FCGvRKFC pic.twitter.com/OjuZ2NGWlA
Despite not making it to the semifinals, FC Goa can still take a lot of positives from their Durand Cup show.
One such was the braveheart performance of Princeton Rebello, who overcame the loss of his grandmother to star in his team's 2-1 win over I League champions Chennai City FC which had put the Gaurs withinh striking distance of a last-four spot.
Rebello has been one of the brightest shining lights of FC Goa's youth programme since its launch. The central midfielder has been at the heart of most things good for the Goan outfit.
With him powering the centre of midfield, the young Gaurs went on to lift the Goa
Professional League ahead of stalwarts like Dempo, Salgaocar, Sporting and Churchill
Brothers. Last season also saw him make his first team debut as Sergio Lobera entrusted him with a place in the midfield during the Super Cup.
Still only 20, the youngster has been given yet another chance to impress, one that he seized while being central to Miranda's plans in the Durand Cup.
Despite not making it to the semis, the Gaurs can still hold their heads high.
The conditions to play the brand of football FC Goa would have liked to play was not prevalent in Durand Cup. Incessant rain and a pitch with patches of stagnant water made going hard for the Gaurs as they were unable to play their usual football which involves passing at the heart of it all.
Yet, the Gaurs gave their best.
(Source: FC Goa Media)