ISL: FC Goa strike early and late to seal a 2-0 win over FC Pune City
FC Goa rise to fourth spot as a 2-0 win over visitors FC Pune City helped the Goan side take all three points at the jampacked Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.
Romeo Fernandes put the home side in the ascendency in just the sixth minute as he met a Santos free kick at the near post, while a last-gasp strike from Slepicka sealed it for the home side in what turned out to be their second win in three games.
Looking to get their campaign back on track and with a place in the top four at stake, FC Pune City coach Franco Colomba made five changes to his side that got rolled over by Chennaiyin FC in the last game with Wadoo, Dudu, Park Kwang-Il, Vadocz and Lenny Rodrigues being preferred over Trezeguet, Davide Colomba, Gurung, Pritam and Magliocchetti. FC Goa too made a couple of changes with Gabriel Fernandes and Youness Bengelloun making way for Romeo Fernandes and Zohib Amiri.
Great start for FC Goa
The home side FC Goa started on the front-foot as a cross from Amiri turned out to be a shot with Arindam having to tip it over. Soon after that, an Andre Santos cross was fired far and wide by Narayan Das. Goa kept up the early pressure which finally payed off in the 6th minute. Gregory reverse passed a ball to the right winger Romeo who was through clear, before being fouled by Anupam Sarkar.
Andre Santos stepped up to take the free-kick which ended into the back of the net as Romeo met the ball at the near post to put the hosts in ascendency.
FC Pune City were finding it difficult to get out of their half just as a few passes saw them reach the opposition box and were helped by Debrata Roy, whose underhit ball was almost met by Dudu, before Seda came out to grab it. That chance was against the run of play. Spurred on by their coach on the sidelines, Pune tried to crawl their way back, but half chances from Kostas Katsouranis and Dudu Omagbemi were saved well by Seda.
The game swung back again in the home team’s favour with Tolgay failing to meet a good ball in the box, while Arindam got his hands to Santos’ effort, keeping Goa at bay. In what was another twist, Seda had to be up for the occasion as he brilliantly saved a right footed shot from Park Kwong-Il, who met the cross from Kostas well. The game went into half time with the home side 1-0 ahead.
End to end second half as Goa clinched the win
The start to the second half was rather drab which forced the FC Pune City coach to make some attacking changes, which saw Joaquim Abranches make his ISL debut as he replaced Anupam Sarkar. Kostas, Dudu and Abranches started to combine well, and asked the FC Goa defence a lot of questions.
The attacking intent was helping the away side as they had two good shots, with Lenny and Pennant the men who went close to scoring. The moment of the second half came when FC Goa was let off after a double chance. After Santos failed to clear a corner, Kostas was quick to react as he scissor-kicked the ball onto the bar after which Cirilo’s header was cleared off the line.
FC Goa too had their chances which was probably the best of the game, as Miranda met a Romeo through ball, after he had gone past Wadoo and as he neared the goal, got his feet tangled up, giving Pune a few extra seconds to salvage the situation, which they did successfully to stay in the game.
Their efforts were finally rewarded in the final minute of added time with three of the FC Goa substitutes combining to seal the game. Miranda’s diving header from a cross from Jewel Raja sent the ball back into the box and Slepicka just eased it in with his head as he was clear in front of the goal.