FC Goa catapulted to third in the Indian Super League (ISL) points table with a 3-0 victory over ATK Mohun Bagan at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday, 20 November. Head coach Juan Ferrando's homecoming was marred by goals from Aibanbha Dohling, Mohamed Fares Arnaout, and Noah Wail Sadaoui.
Coming into the clash, the Gaurs had never won against the Mariners in the ISL. Given their recent result, a 3-1 loss against Kerala Blasters, it seemed like Goa's poor run this season would continue. But head coach Carlos Pena had other plans.
With Saviour Gama injured, Marc Valiente was deputized at the center of the defense, and Dohling slotted into the left-back spot. Redeem Tlang took Sadaoui's place on the flanks.
ATK Mohun Bagan were expected to grab hold of the proceedings, given that they had won three of their last four encounters. However, it was Carlos Pena's men who controlled the proceedings right from the first whistle.
The Goan side had a couple of chances early on through Alvaro Vazquez and Iker Guarrotxena. But crucial stops from Vishal Keith kept the scoreline intact.
The opening exchanges were a sign of things to come as FC Goa kept knocking on the door. In the 22nd minute, it seemed like the Goans had pulled ahead when Vazquez tucked the ball into an open net, but the referee blew the whistle to indicate offside.
Pena's men had nine shots overall and five shots on target in the first 45 minutes. But they still failed to open the scoring.
FC Goa look more clinical in second half against ATK Mohun Bagan
However, right after the half-time break, the Gaurs were rewarded for their prolific attacking intensity. Anwar Ali, in the 50th minute, played a delicious diagonal long ball to set through Aibanbha Dohling, who was quick to latch on to it down the left flank. The full-back out-muscled his marker and unleashed an effort into the top right corner.
Still, even after taking the lead, Carlos Pena's men did not sit back in their lead as they put Mohun Bagan on the backfoot. Before the Mariners could knit together a response, FC Goa doubled their lead in the 76th minute.
A routine corner kick from Edu Bedia was all it took as Fares Arnaout beat Brendan Hamill to head the ball home.
Soon after, Noah Sadaoui, who missed out on the starting lineup, made his impact felt on the game off the bench. His dipping long-range effort from outside the box ended in the back of the net despite Vishal Keith getting a hand to it.
Juan Ferrando's side's misery further deepened when their 89th-minute goal was ruled out due to offside.
The win takes FC Goa to third in the points table while ATK Mohun Bagan are sixth in the standings.