Dubai, September 16:
FC Goa held Ajman Club to a 1-1 draw in a pre-season friendly at the Ajman stadium in Dubai, on Wednesday, as part of the preparation for the Indian Super League (ISL) season 2. Luciano Sobrosa, Keenan Almeida, Raju Gaikwad, Jonatan Lucca, Denson Devadas, Romeo Fernandes and CS Sabeeth were all handed a start for the first time in the Dubai pre-season friendlies.
FC Goa had drawn their the first of the five friendlies 2-2 against Al Khaleej and recorded their first win by beating Al Shabab 2-1 on Tuesday.
Ajman served the Goan fans with an early blow as the home team scored off a long range grounder that beat goalkeeper Elinton Andrade in the eighth minute. Lucca tried to find the equaliser in the following minute but saw his shot parried away by the Ajman goalkeeper.
Ajman kept dominating the possession thereon, although kept in check by FC Goa who got close in the 15th minute when Thongkhosiem Haokip’s cross was headed agonisingly wide by Joaquim Abranches. The Orange Brigade continued holding the upper hand which was briefly cut off by Romeo and Sabeeth on an occasion each with Zico’s side trailing 1-0 at half-time.
FC Goa kick-started the second half by scoring the equaliser courtesy one of Gaikwad’s signature long throw-ins that was flicked to nestle at the back of the net by Sabeeth. It was a relatively quieter half for Andrade in the FC Goa goal as the ISL side commanded their performance on the field.
Romeo shot wide and Sabeeth’s shot was blocked for a corner before Zico made two changes bringing in Mandar Rao Desai and Darryl Duffy in place of Abranches and Haokip respectively. Devadas too was replaced by Bikramjit after getting 80 minutes of game time. It could have the second victory for Goa in as many games had Sobrosa’s header off Lucca’s free-kick been on target in the 89th minute while minutes earlier Sabeeth was robbed of the ball from his feet after being put through by Bikramjit.
FC Goa have two more Arabian giants in Al Jazeera Club and Hatta Club at the respective clubs’ grounds on 19, and 20 September respectively to complete their Dubai sojourn. The kick-offs of those matches will be 1730 and 1730 respectively (Dubai local time).