Mahindra United's hopes of making it to the semi-finals of the Under-19 National Football League suffered a severe jolt when they lost 0-3 to Vasco in a Group 'A' match at the Duler ground, in Mapusa, Goa, on Monday.
Vasco, who led 1-0 at half-time, scored through Agnelo D'Souza (36th, 82nd minutes) and Beevan D'Mello (51st) to register their first victory in the five team-league from three matches.
With two teams from each group going through to the semi-finals, Dempo, with seven points from three matches, are assured of a berth along with JCT and East Bengal, who have already qualified from Group 'B'.
The last slot will be filled either by Mahindra United or Salgaocar, who play their last match on May 29.
After today's defeat, Mahindra, with four points from three matches, will have to beat Salgaocar, who only need only a draw to qualify for the semi-finals as they have six points.
Vasco, who had nothing to lose as they are out of contention for a place in the semi-finals, turned in their best performance as they held midfield superiority and ball possession.
They took the lead in 36th minute when Agnelo D'Souza tapped home a deflection after keeper Rajesh Bangera blocked a shot from Beevan D'Mello.
Changing over a goal up, Vasco increased the lead in the 51st minute through a fine goal from D'Mello, who dribbled past a host of defenders and the onrushing keeper to put the ball into the net.
They could have won by a bigger margin had it not been for keeper Bangera, who made two diving saves, thwarting Beevan and Vilas Morje.
Mahindra's fate was sealed when Agnelo scored again with a header off a pass from substitute Wesley D'Costa.
Mahindra came by two good chances, but Shanwaz Ansari's try went over and later Arshad Ansari's shot was saved by Vasco keeper Bronson Sequeira.