In a thrilling contest marked by end-to-end action and gripping moments, hosts FC Goa managed to secure a hard-fought 1-0 victory against Kerala Blasters at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Sunday.
With local boy Rowllin Borges scoring the only goal of the match, the Men in Orange registered what was their sixth win of the season against the Southerners, thereby extending the undefeated start to their league campaign after seven matches. The victory also resulted in the Gaurs replacing the visitors in pole position on the points’ table, with 19 points.
Earlier in the day, Goa head coach Manolo Marquez made some big changes to his playing squad. The game then commenced with both teams displaying an eagerness to take the lead.
Kerala Blasters’ Vibin Mohanan attempted an audacious shot from distance in the 7th minute, which was expertly collected by FC Goa’s goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh. The early moments of the clash also saw Kwame Peprah coming close for the visitors with a sprinting effort, but narrowly missing the target in a one-on-one situation with the ‘keeper.
FC Goa, eager to respond, showcased their attacking prowess as Noah Sadaoui’s impressive runs into the opponents’ box set up chances for Victor Rodriguez and Carl McHugh, before Rowllin Borges also had an attempt on goal from just over 20 yards out.
The breakthrough finally arrived in added time of the first half as the Nuvem-based midfielder capitalised on a Rodriguez free-kick, delivering a precise finish to put FC Goa ahead.
The second half witnessed Kerala Blasters pushing for an equaliser, with Mohammed Aimen and Adrian Luna testing FC Goa’s defence in quick succession. Arshdeep Singh’s vigilant goalkeeping, however, denied any chance of a comeback for the visitors.
Despite the Yellow Army’s attempts to level the score, FC Goa managed to hold their ground throughout this period, with Seriton Fernandes making a crucial clearance in the dying minutes of the game to secure a slender victory for the hosts.
Manolo Marquez’s boys will now return to action on December 12th for their next outing, when they lock horns against Mumbai City FC, who are also unbeaten so far in the league.