Local Goa News

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Half-empty stadium greets Premier Futsal in Goa as Ronaldinho’s absence shows

Mapusa: Premier Futsal's Goa adventure wasn't really as exciting as many, including the organizers, would have hoped.

Played in front of a half-empty stadium, and that too with a capacity of approximately three thousand, Goa 5's managed a 2-2 draw against Kolkata 5's that keep them in the hunt for a place in the semifinals but the lack of support, enthusiasm and joy was glaring.
Nowhere was it more evident than in the stands, particularly at the Southern end which remained empty. But why? Blame it on Ronaldinho.
The Brazilian superstar packed his bags for home after just four days and two matches, leaving supporters in Goa terribly disappointed. Several had booked their tickets and marked out the dates believing the former World Player of the Year would entertain the Goan crowd just like he dazzled those in Chennai with five goals in his last game, but news of his departure to Brazil proved more damaging than the incessant rain that kept pounding the state all through the day, and night.
Worse still, there was confusion over the fixtures with organizers announcing late on Monday night that Goa's matches were being rescheduled to ensure that the new marquee player, Cafu, got two league games, only to realize that jumbling fixtures would take away credibility from the league. The fixtures remained unchanged but the damage was already done.
"Ronaldinho brings lot of joy and energy. He is a happy guy, always smiling and knows to entertain the crowd. We will miss him a lot," admitted Goa goalkeeper Bebe, who has won five league titles with Benfica in Portugal in the last nine years.
Ronaldinho's magical presence was missed at the start on Tuesday not just by those who had flocked to the Peddem sports complex in Mapusa but also his teammates. Kolkata raced to a 2-0 lead inside the first quarter with goals from Pula and Carioca, two of the best players wearing Kolkata jersey. Of course, there was former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo as well but he couldn't last beyond the first quarter.
Down 0-2 and in danger of missing out on a place in the semifinals, Goa got its act together in the third quarter, scoring twice in quick succession to level scores at 2-2. Vampeta was the man who first threw Goa a lifeline in the third session, giving finishing touches to a brilliant ball from Rafael - who has just switched allegiance to Barcelona from Benfica - and then capitalized on a defensive lapse to rescue a precious point.
In another match, Mumbai 5's led from start to finish as they registered an exciting 4-3 win over Chennai 5's and became the first team to qualify for the semifinals. Foglia, formerly best futsal player in the world, did the star turn for Mumbai with a stunning hat-trick but it was really the other goal - scored by Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs - that received the loudest cheer.
Sean Garnier, Romulo and Camilo had done well to keep Chennai in the game until the last quarter when Foglia turned the match on its head.

TOI Goa News

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