15 Apr 2024  |   06:29am IST

FC Goa keep 2nd place finish hopes alive

The Men in Orange now wait for Monday’s Mohun Bagan Super Giant- Mumbai City FC encounter to see if they can climb to second place on the points table and ensure direct qualification to the semi-finals
FC Goa keep 2nd place finish hopes alive

Team Herald

FATORDA: FC Goa have confirmed at least a third place finish to wrap up their 2023-24 season of Indian Super League campaign and ahead of the impending Play-Offs, following a remarkable 4-1 win over Chennaiyin FC, at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, here, on Sunda. 

Borja Herrera, Carlos Martinez (brace) and Brandon Fernandes scored to hand the Gaurs a comeback win, after Chennaiyin FC took the lead through Rahim Ali in the 13th minute.

A failed attempt at a clearance by Narayan Das saw the ball bounce off of Jiteshwor Singh and fall into Ali’s path. The 23-year-old, in turn, beat his marker and unleashed a shot from the right side of the box accurately into the near post, past goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.

They could have doubled their advantage only three minutes later, but Irfan Yadwad’s header from a cross by Conor Shields struck the crossbar and was cleared away, much to the relief of the home team’s fans.

With Owen Coyle’s boys threatening to take the game away from them, FC Goa intensified their efforts in search for an equaliser. It was almost as if they knew that all they had to do to regain control was to get the scoresheet back on level terms.

And that is exactly what happened, following Borja’s close range-strike in the 33rd minute. Just five minutes later, the Men in Orange took the lead after Martinez sent Chennaiyin FC shot-stopper Samik Mitra the wrong way to score from the penalty spot.

In the third minute of added time after 45 minutes, Goa skipper Brandon opened his account for the league season with a beautiful goal. After playing a clever one-two with Noah Sadaoui, he received the ball back from the Moroccan, took a deft touch to get past a defender and slotted it home right through the ‘keepers legs to make the score 3-1 in favour of the hosts.

Following the change of ends, Manolo Marquez’s boys looked a lot refreshed and in charge of the proceedings, surely thanks to their two-goal cushion. In the 61st minute, they almost added a fourth to their tally when Martinez attempted a shot from just outside the box which took a deflection and went out just inches off the post.

It took just nine more minutes for the Spaniard to redeem himself. Substitute Udanta Singh showcased his ability by dribbling past a defender and playing the perfect pass to his teammate in the center of the six-yard box, for him to casually place it into the far corner of the net beyond the reach of a diving Mitra.

This also proved to be the last decisive action of the clash, which thus ended 4-1 in favour for FC Goa.

The Men in Orange will now wait till full-time at Monday’s Mohun Bagan Super Giant- Mumbai City FC encounter to see if they can climb to second place on the points table and ensure direct qualification to the semi-finals.

Currently tied with Mohun Bagan on 45 points, Goa can finish second by virtue of a better head-to-head record, if the Kolkata outfit suffer a defeat to the Islanders. Any other result would mean the Gaurs will remain in third place and play a single-leg Play-Off game to try and qualify for the last-four.


IDhar UDHAR

Idhar Udhar