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ISL 2015: FC Goa hand Kerala Blasters their worst ISL defeat, thrashing them 5-1

FEATURED COLUMNIST
522   //    29 Nov 2015, 20:00 IST
Reinaldo's hat-trick helped FC Goa thrash Kerala Blasters FC (Image courtesy: ISL)

The big question tonight was if FC Goa could get the job done and finally guarantee themselves a place in the semi-final.  The last couple of games for Zico’s men were edgy to say the least. Heading into this clash, Kerala’s goal difference was -1, better than three teams above them.

The home side got off to a blistering start taking the lead within the first two minutes. At the right wing, German did brilliantly to get past the full back and square it off to Pulga. The Spaniard volleyed it past Kattimani’s near post.

That was Kerala’s 19th goal of the season with only two teams having a better scoring record.  In spite of that, it’s amazing to see them at the bottom of the table.

The Gaurs silenced the home crowd in the 11th minute courtesy of a slick move. Reinaldo received a cross from the right wing.  The Brazilian was clever in the moment and laid it off to the onrushing Joffre first time. With only the keeper to beat, the midfielder side-footed his shot past keeper, Bywater.

Antonio German was a livewire for Kerala in the first half. He kept probing the back four and The Gaurs seem unsettled with his off the ball movements. Goa though were in no mood to be upstaged and held  their own by driving forward with intent when given the opportunity.

They delivered a killer blow in the 28th minute. The trio of Mandar, Moura, and Reinaldo exchanged passes outside the box and the striker finished off a fine move.  He did well to shrug off the left back with no difficulty and slot it past the keeper.

The build up to that goal looked like a training routine. Such was the ease with which they strolled past the Kerala defense.

In a moment of madness, Josu punched Jofre, following what seemed like an elbow from Jofre, and received his marching orders. The home side headed towards the tunnel 2-1 down at half time.

With a mountain to climb, Blasters Coach, Terry Phelan made two changes at half-time to turn things around. But it was not going to be a good night for the home side as Reinaldo gave Goa an unassailable two goal lead inside the first five minutes. Mandar whipped in an inch-perfect cross from the left to find the Brazilian, who slotted the ball into an open goal.

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The Blasters tried their best to put on a show for the vocal home crowd. Pulga and German exchanged passes outside the box and the former’s swerving shot was tipped over the bar by Kattimani.

As expected, The Gaurs kept teasing the Kerala defense by maintaining possession for prolonged periods. They were playing the game at walking pace. It’s amazing how one man less on the pitch can make all the difference.

Reinaldo then completed what probably was the easiest hat trick of his career at the hour mark. He became the third Goan player to do so. Almost a carbon copy of his second goal, Sabeeth sent in a cross from the right and the Brazilian was at the other end to again slot it into an open goal.

Kerala were torn to shreds as minutes later, Mandar made it five. Moura found the winger unmarked at the left who did well to hammer the ball past Bywater. That was his third goal in a season where the Indian U-23 International has consistently shown his class.

The final minutes of the match produced no more write worthy moments as the game ended 5-1 to the Gaurs, who moved to 2nd in the table above Delhi. The win put Zico’s men through to the semi finals alongside Kolkata and Delhi.

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