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The Inter-Media nine-a-side football tournament kicked off at the Athletic Stadium, Bambolim on Sunday. The tournament is being organised by the Sports Journalists Association of Goa (SJAG) in collaboration with Goa Football Development Council (GFDC) and Sports Authority of Goa (SAG).

In the first match, Herald Publications beat The Goan 2-1. Both the teams were locked 1-1 at half time. Durgesh Naik opened the scoring for The Goan while Shailesh Naik found the target for Herald. Crossing over, Alan D’Cruz scored the match-winner for Herald. Bhanudas Gawas from The Goan was named Player-of-the-Match.

Later, Tarun Bharat earned a walkover as Rest of Press did not turn up.

In the evening session, All India Radio (AIR) got the better of defending champions Navhind Times 5-4 via the tie-breaker. Navhind came from three goals down to draw level before the end of regulation time. Savio Noronha secured a brace for AIR while Bambino Dias scored one goal as AIR raced into a three-goal lead.

However, Navhind pulled one goal back through Sushant Gawas just before half time. In the second half, veteran Kishore Kamat scored twice to bring Navhind back into the match.

In the penalty shootout, AIR scored through Savio and Bambino while only Kishore found the target for Navhind. Kishore was adjudged Player-of-the-Match.

In the last match of the day, a hat-trick by Flavio Lopes ensured Times of India a 3-2 win over Lokmat. Flavio was named Player-of-the-Match.

Goa Football Association (GFA) President, Churchill Alemao was the Chief Guest at the inaugural ceremony. While addressing the gathering he wished good luck to the participating teams.

“It is very sad to see that cricket is given so much prominence despite the game of football being played across the world. I am surprised that the country having the second largest population has not qualified to play the World Cup. In Goa and especially in India there is a need to support and promote football. I request the media to help to take football forward by giving sufficient publicity. I want football in Goa not only to reach greater heights and success but also make it to the World Cup,” said Alemao.

Also present was GFDC Member Secretary, Aleixo da Costa who declared the tournament open. He welcomed the guest and wished good luck to all the teams. “This is the first time that the SJAG approached us to organize a tournament. I congratulate the SJAG for this Initiative which we are hopeful will continue in the years to come,” said Costa.