Substitute Cavin Lobo scored an injury-time goal to help reigning champions Goa pip Karnataka 1-0 and begin their title defence positively, in the quarter-final league of the 64th National Football Championship, for the Santosh Trophy, at Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata on Thursday.
Lobo, who replaced Milagres Gonsalves in the 55th minute, scored the decisive goal in the 90+1st minute to help Goa pocket three points in Group A, which also has Punjab and Services.
Karnataka had an opportunity to take the uppher hand in the third minute but forward Ngurneilal Hmar's header came off the horizontal bar.
Soon, both the sides switched to playing watchfully, with the first-half resulting in a goalless stalemate.
New to the conditions, Goa struggled to find their rhythm and the turning point came only on the hour-mark when the Sporting Clube de Goa midfielder was brought in by coach Mariano Dias.
Lobo had some fine attempts but only to see his strikes go in vain with either luck or pluck favouring Karnataka.
He got at least three fine chances but the ball hit the horizontal bar or Karnataka goalkeeper Nagendra was the stumbling block.
But, in the dying moments, Lobo struck a fine angular shot beyond Nagendra's reach to hand his side a fine win.