The David Robertson-coached Kashmir side will take on city heavyweights Mohun Bagan in the semifinal at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan on August 21.
Kashmir had beaten Mohun Bagan 2-1 at the same venue when they finished third in the I-League earlier in the year.
Though Kashmir got the first clear sight of goal, it was the young Gaurs who looked dominant in the opening exchanges. Liston Colaco especially was creating all sorts of problems for the Real Kashmir defence in the early goings with FC Goa carving out 3 openings within the first 10 minutes.
With the Gaurs putting the pressure on the Kashmir backline, they created their biggest opportunity in the 24th minute. Liston was again the instigator-in-chief as he got past two defenders thanks to his pace and guile before putting in a low cross across the box. Whilst that didn’t any of his teammates, a couple of ricochets off the Kashmir defenders helped the ball to Lalawmpuia’s feet.
The usually composed striker, though, failed to sort out his feet in time and hit the upright from six yards out.
The rebound fell to Princeton Rebello at the edge of the box, but his effort was cleared off the line by a defender.
The rest of the first half was a seesaw affair with both teams putting their all to break the deadlock. That, however, was not to be and the teams went into the half goalless.
The young Gaurs kept the pressure up in the second half and had a huge shout for a penalty turned down at the hour mark.
The last 15 odd minutes saw the game exclusively being played in the Real Kashmir half. And whilst the Goan boys were near impeccable in their build-up play, they couldn’t put the finishing touch to those well-orchestrated moves.
The Real Kashmir defence, on the other hand, showed grit and had a brush of luck to thank for holding out till the final whistle.
The result means Clifford Miranda’s boys ended the group stage with 7 points from their 3 games but failed to qualify for the semis with Real Kashmir’s goal difference of +5 helping them get into the top four.