Thanks to a stunner from Jorge Ortiz, FC Goa snapped up a crucial 1-0 victory against Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Saturday.
The match was headlined by the return of Nerijus Valskis to Chennaiyin FC and Anwar Ali's debut in the ISL. However, the game unraveled as a clash between the Marina Machans' defense and the possession-based system of the Gaurs.
In the first half, although FC Goa had a wealth of possession and emerged as the dominant team, they failed to breakdown the Chennaiyin FC defense. Goalkeeper Debjit Majumder, who replaced Vishal Kaith, stepped in with some crucial saves off Ortiz.
Coming out after the break, FC Goa maintained a similar tempo in midfield. They picked things up from where they left off in the first half and kept knocking at the Chennaiyin FC goal.
However, the Chennai-based club's counter-attacking system came to almost fruition in the 75th minute when Mirlan Murzaev had a shot on target. But Naveen Kumar dealt with it superbly.
Finally, in the 82nd minute, FC Goa were rewarded for their dominance. Ortiz struck the ball sweetly from outside the box and caught Debjit out of position for Goa's winner.
On that note, let's take a look at the player ratings for the night:
FC Goa Player Ratings:
Naveen Kumar (7): Was called upon to make just one single save throughout the game and rose to the occasion. Naveen also completed 100% of his attempted passes.
Anwar Ali (7): On his ISL debut, Anwar Ali looked solid throughout except for a bit of a handball scare in the first half. Looked comfortable with his passing range.
Ivan Gonzalez (7.5): Was the pick of FC Goa players. Ivan marshaled the the Gaurs backline well, was solid on the ball and stepped in with crucial challenges.
Aiban Dohling (7): Saw a lot of the ball in the build-up and was strong going into challenges. Aiban has been one of the most consistent centre-backs in the FC Goa setup.
Seriton Fernandes (7): Pinned down Chennaiyin FC from the right flank with an admirable workrate.
Saviour Gama (6.5): Couldn't replicate Seriton's attacking output but looked solid in defense.
Muhammed Nemil (6): The young midfielder couldn't make his presence felt in the middle of the park. Nemil failed to break Chennaiyin FC's defensive line and had to be subbed off at half-time.
Glan Martins (6.5): Glan Martins carried the ball well from deep, made key passes but lacked the final product on multiple occasions.
Edu Bedia (8): The former Barcelona B man was an absolute metronome in the FC Goa midfield. Had over 100 touches on the ball and controlled the entire tempo of the game.
Alberto Noguera (7.5): Alberto Noguera picked the lock on multiple occasions with delightful passing and created ample chances going forward.
Jorge Ortiz (8): Looked lively throughout the game and had ample half-chances in the first half. However, late in the half, Ortiz finally found the back of the net with an absolute worldie.
Devendra Murgaonkar (6.5): Devendra came on after the break and looked strong going into the duels in the opposition half. Had a positive impact on the attacking outlet.
Airam Cabrera (6): Didn't have many opportunities to make his impact felt but added a layer to the FC Goa attack.
Makan Chothe (NA): Came on too late to make an impact.
Chennaiyin FC Player Ratings:
Debjit Majumder (6.5): Made some crucial saves in the first half and had a decent overall game. But Debjit could've done better in terms of positioning in the goal Chennaiyin FC conceded.
Mohd Sajid Dhot (6.5): Looked solid defensively throughout the game but was poor in regards to his passing game.
Slavko Damjanovic (6): Made defensive contributions throughout the game but was poor going into the duels.
Narayan Das (6): Similar to Damjanovic, Narayan Das too was solid defensively but didn't have an extraordinary outing.
Reagan Singh (6): Serition pinned him down for most of the game. Reagan conceded five fouls and was booked once.
Jerry Lalrinzuala (6): Looked lively in bits and pieces but couldn't create anything substantial going forward.
Anirudh Thapa (6): Anirudh Thapa failed to control the tempo of the game and could not create anything going forward for Chennaiyin FC.
Vladimir Koman (6): The Hungarian midfielder had to be subbed out after suffering a knock. But Koman was largely ineffective during his time on the pitch.
Edwin Vanspaul (5.5): The veteran Indian midfielder was very poor in possession and misplaced plenty of his passes. Had to be taken off as he was running the risk of receiving a second yellow.
Mirlan Murzaev (6): Came closest to scoring a goal for Chennaiyin FC but otherwise had an off-night with a lot of miss-passes.
Nerijus Valskis (6): While the match was headlined by Nerijus Valskis' return to Chennaiyin FC, the Lithuanian striker failed to make his mark. Valskis largely had his back towards the FC Goa goal and had zero attempts at goal.
Germanpreet Singh (5.5): Chennaiyin FC hardly had the ball in the second-half and Germanpreet was largely ineffective. He could've done better while tracking Ortiz in the move that led to the goal.
Lallianzuala Chhangte (5.5): Failed to make his presence felt against FC Goa and was unsuccessful in creating chances going forward.
Lukasz Gikiewicz (6): Replaced Valskis in the 71st minute and tried to hold the ball whenever possible. But FC Goa cut all the channels down.