With just 11 points from 11 games, FC Goa had to win their last three games at any given cost if they were to progress to the semifinal stage of this season’s ISL. On the other hand were an offensive opponent, arriving with a purpose of securing three points and to establish themselves a semi-final spot for the third consecutive season.
Goa had never won against the inaugural winners since season one, and the 18,000 fans that flocked the Fatorda Stadium were hoping for a day where the jinx would finally break.
As the final whistle blew, there was absolute silence amongst the crowd, shattered to see their team’s qualification hopes dangling by a thread. The same men in blue that reached the finals last year failed miserably to keep the hopes alive.
Atletico de Kolkata dominated the first half as Belencoso opened the scoring for the visitors before an inspired second half performance got the crowd back on their feet through Mandar granting the Gaurs an equaliser. But a winning goal by Steve Pearson in the dying minutes of the match buried Goa’s qualification hopes. Here are five things we learned from the match.
#1 Kattimani saves Goa the blushes
To keep an offensive ATK side at bay between the sticks, in a must win game, was never an easy challenge. The Dempo FC keeper made a couple of saves in the first half to keep the home side in the game and cleared out danger even at times when captain Gregory Arnolin failed to. It was indeed Kattimani’s alertness and reflexes that saved Goa from a defeat that could have been much worse.
There’s nothing much he could do about the two goals that the Gaurs conceded, but whether it was clearing a ball out with his legs or not hesitating to make a couple of dives here and there, Kattimani’s performance should not go unappreciated.