Drums silenced as FC Goa crumble in injury time

Leading by two goals till the 90th minute, Gaurs let in three goals in seven minutes to lose first leg of semis to Mumbai City FC

HAVING THE LAST LAUGH: Mumbai City FC's Lallianzuala Chhangte nets the ball twice to take the lead against FC Goa at Goa's Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the first leg of the 2nd semi-final.
HAVING THE LAST LAUGH: Mumbai City FC's Lallianzuala Chhangte nets the ball twice to take the lead against FC Goa at Goa's Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the first leg of the 2nd semi-final. Photo: FSDL/ISL

Sports is beautiful because of its unpredictability and that was the bitter lesson taught to FC Goa fans as Mumbai City FC, down by two goals till the 90th minute, scored three goals in seven minutes in the first leg of the second semifinal of the ISL-10 at Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Wednesday.

When it appeared to most that FC Goa was going to play the second leg of the semi-final with an advantage, Mumbai City FC coach Petr Kratky substituted three of his foreign recruits with home-grown talent and that change switched the tide in his team’s favour.

ORANGE FEVER: Cheered by the biggest crowd ever, FC Goa showed promise in the first half.
ORANGE FEVER: Cheered by the biggest crowd ever, FC Goa showed promise in the first half. Photo: FSDL/ISL

Cheered by the biggest crowd ever, FC Goa started earnestly scoring as early as the 16th minute when Mohammed Yasir capitalised on a Mumbai City FC defensive lapse to send in a carpet cross for Boris Singh to burst the cauldron of emotions.

Taken by surprise, Mumbai did not panic and tried to break through the opponents' defence through short passes right into the mouth of the gaur but failed to taste success.

FIRST BLOOD: FC Goa's Boris Singh celebrates his goal against Mumbai City FC.
FIRST BLOOD: FC Goa's Boris Singh celebrates his goal against Mumbai City FC. Photo: FSDL/ISL

At the half-hour mark, the creator of the first goal had to be stretchered out after being injured in a melee trying to thwart the visitors from damaging his goal and was replaced by Udanta Singh.

As the first session was coming to a close, the drum beats of FC Goa fans resounded all around pushing the team to hold the fort together, whilst the Mumbai city FC defence held FC Goa’s Noah on the edge of the rock with captain Rahul Bheke not giving him a whiff of the ball.


HAVING THE LAST LAUGH: Mumbai City FC's Lallianzuala Chhangte nets the ball twice to take the lead against FC Goa at Goa's Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the first leg of the 2nd semi-final.
Vibrant Goa has a niche for art too

The hosts started the second session cautiously but appeared to enjoy a distinct advantage with the visitors not really able to test rival keeper Dheeraj Singh.

It was in the 55th minute that Mumbai City FC had another defensive lapse and the ball reached FC Goa captain Brandon Fernandes who, once again, made space for himself and let go a shot that foxed Mumbai keeper Phurba Lachenpa to the chagrin of his teams travelling fans.

ON TARGET AGAIN: FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute.
ON TARGET AGAIN: FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute.Photo: FSDL/ISL

FC Goa defended well right through the game, nicking the ball from their opponents when it mattered most but the truth hit them most after the three vital substitutions by Mumbai City FC coach Kratky.

When all seemed set to go home with memories of a great victory – could have perhaps been one of their best – the Mumbai City lads had other plans. They did not change their game but there was a change in intent that saw goal after goal in seven minutes, that left the FC Goa fans shell shocked and the boisterous stadium silent.

SILENCE ALL: Mumbai City FC's Vikram Partap Singh celebrates his goal against FC Goa.
SILENCE ALL: Mumbai City FC's Vikram Partap Singh celebrates his goal against FC Goa.Photo: FSDL/ISL

Dheeraj Singh who had a silent first half, was at his best in the second – before the goal bath – anticipating the balls and helping control the pace of the game in a session that saw the visitors pound with no casualties.

Mumbai City FC resorted to short passes from the left and the right and at times switching to the middle but the FC Goa defence intuitively read through their plan.

BALL CONTROL: Mumbai City FC's Mehtab Singh in action at the Nehru Stadium in Goa.
BALL CONTROL: Mumbai City FC's Mehtab Singh in action at the Nehru Stadium in Goa.Photo: FSDL/ISL

As the match progressed, the first leg of the semi-finals was an indicator to football fans in the country that Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Lachenpa needs many more seasons under the horizontal to dream of wearing the gloves for his country.

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