FC Goa did not have the best New Year start as they were unable to make much of ball possession enjoyed and instead allowed visitors Hyderabad FC score a deserving 3-1 win at the Nehru stadium in Fatorda on Thursday.
Hyderabad FC, who have climbed to the top of the table, created three chances or rather three chances fell on captain Bartholomew Ogbeche and he converted all and that was the difference between the winners and losers.
FC Goa created the chances and the first one was when the game was around four-minutes old. Noah Sadaoui had the ball with the goalkeeper in front and as he tried to position his shot, he was dispossessed by Hyderabad FC defender Nikhil Poojary.
FC Goa kept enjoying possession without actually troubling the Hyderabad defence with the latter’s players preferring to play in swarms. Noah looked potent but failed to cut through the Hyderabad goal.
It was against the run of play in the 19th minute when Hyderabad created its first move and it ended as the first goal of the evening. Halicharan Narzary ran down the left flank and sent in a cross that was met by unmarked Ogbeche for his first goal of the evening. His clean header surprised and upset the 8000-odd FC Goa fans.
The hosts kept up the temp but as before they lacked bite or rather the will to hurt the visitors. It was classroom football with Noah creating opportunities but unable to translate those opportunities into goals.
FC Goa had a clear advantage in the first session but there was no clarity on scoring purpose. They cut through the Hyderabad defence but never got Hyderabad keeper Gurmeet stretch to make a save.
Seriton Fernandes was out and his absence had a telling effect on FC Goa with the right looking forlorn. Redeem Tlang despite scoring the equalizer could not really fit the boots normally worn by Seriton.
Redeem ran deep but could not translate his crosses from his run into evocative opportunities for his colleagues. Both teams went for the breather with the visitors enjoying a one-goal lead.
FC Goa came better prepared in the second half and equalized nine minutes after the start of the second session when Noah from the left sent in a low cross that was met by Redeem inside the Hyderabad box for a simple tap-in.
The equalizer saw FC Goa fire from a different cylinder and another goal looked imminent. However, Hyderabad FC coach Manuel Roca made some quick substitutions and the new feet on the pitch matched the intent of the FC Goa lads.
Hyderabad FC, after being dominated by FC Goa, once again took the lead against the run of play when Ogbeche – in the 77th minute- pounced on a ball which was punched by FC Goa keeper Dheeraj Singh for his second goal of the evening.
FC Goa tried hard to bounce back into the game with coach Pena throwing in Glan Martins and Saviour Gama in place of Sanson Pereira, the latter not really being up to the mark.
Sahil Tavora made sure the issue was pretty safe for his team when in the 89th minute he found Abdul Rabeeh on the right who crossed towards the centre for Ogbeche to step forward and nod the ball past Dheeraj and thereby register his hat trick.