FC Goa reboots with solitary goal victory at home

Gaurs charge at East Bengal to inject life into their home stadium and cheer their few fans in the stands
East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold.
East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold. Photo: ISL

FC Goa scored once against East Bengal in the 42nd minute and the message at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda was clear – once is enough – as the stuttering hosts kept themselves within a sniff of the league title.
The win, after three consecutive losses, saw the stadium jump back with life as FC Goa will rest knowing they could have done much better against a Kolkata side that played with a vacuum in the midfield right through.

East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold.
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Manolo Marquez’s men showed their intent in the 11th minute when Noah, with just East Bengal goalkeeper in front of him, missed and therein began a story of missed chances raising eyebrows amongst the few fans in the stadium despite tickets being slashed.
FC Goa had four distinct chances during the first 30 minutes with neither Noah nor Carlos Martinez being able to bury the ball. Those missed chances, and others during the game, show that FC Goa cannot afford to squander what they get at the far end of the league.

East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold.
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Coach Manolo opted for Borja Gonzalez instead of captain Brandon Fernandes but the former, despite a dominant presence in the midfield, lacked venom in his delivery; passing is one thing, getting one’s colleague to capitalise is another.
As the game appeared to be meandering towards a dead rock first half, Noah Sadaoui turned another East Bengal defensive lapse – there were quite a few – into a goal that injected life into the stadium.

Noah Sadaoui reacts after scoring the only goal of the match. He was declared player of the match.
Noah Sadaoui reacts after scoring the only goal of the match. He was declared player of the match. Photo: ISL

The visitors were slow to react to the thrust and pace set by the hosts, and thus played in clusters leaving plenty of gaps that were well utilised by the marauding midfield that saw Rowllin Borges controlling one side and Borja the other.
FC Goa continued dominance in the second session but this time, East Bengal goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Gill had some work and could have well have finished as one of the players that covered most ground.

East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold.
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Gill first denied Carlos a peep of his goal and later it was the turn of Noah, Carlos and Borja with the ball once hitting the side bar to the chagrin of the fans who were waiting for at least one more goal.
Brandon was brought into after the hour mark but the lad from South Goa, who is rumoured to be leaving for better pastures, was unable to make a difference. Brandon actually had an open opportunity but his charm seemed to have been left behind.

FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes in action. He actually had an open opportunity but his charm seemed to have been left behind.
FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes in action. He actually had an open opportunity but his charm seemed to have been left behind. Photo: ISL

East Bengal coach Cuadrat made his share of changes but without a constructive midfield, there was little the visitors could do to justify the presence of their loud supporters.
Cleiton Silva was well shepherded through the game so much so that FC Goa keeper Dheeraj Singh had little to do through the 90 minutes. Odei Onaindia marshaled the defense well with Rowllin and Borja proving to be effective withdrawn midfielders.

East Bengal players found Noah Sadaoui of FC Goa too hard to hold.
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FC Goa is now in 4th position with 32 points from 17 games – one point below Mohun Bagan who have played 16 games; three points behind Mumbai City FC who have played 17 games; and Odisha FC that has played one game more.
FC Goa hosts Bengaluru FC in their next home game after their exploits away.

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