FC Goa secured a thrilling victory over Odisha FC with a final score of 3-2. Jay Gupta’s dramatic late strike sealed the win for the Gaurs in a highly competitive Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Fatorda Stadium on Saturday.
Mourtada Fall and Noah Sadaoui each scored two goals for the Juggeranuts and FC Goa, respectively. However, it was the 22-year-old Gupta who became the hero with his goal just moments before the full-time whistle, allowing Manolo Marquez’s team to claim all three points from the contest.
The Gaurs returned to the Fatorda Stadium in Goa to battle out with Odisha FC in matchday three of the tenth edition of the Indian Super League. Following the postponement of the Gaurs’ initial match against Hyderabad FC, they commenced their ISL campaign on their home ground against Punjab FC. Despite clinching a 1-0 victory, Manolo Marquez may have found the performance disappointing, as his team lacked sharpness and wasted numerous scoring opportunities.
On the other hand, Odisha FC travelled to the Western Coast of India following a fiery battle with Mumbai City FC in their last match, resulting in a tie after winning their initial match against Chennaiyin FC at home. This match was nothing short of a reunion between the two teams as personnel from both sides have been associated with each other in the previous seasons of the Indian Super League.
Manolo Marquez, the head coach of the Indian Super League decided to field his unchanged XI which triumphed against Punjab FC in the last match. On the other hand, Roy Krishna returned to the starting line-up replacing Diego Maurício as Sergio Lobera decided to keep the other players untouched.
Odisha FC did not take long to break the deadlock as Mourtada Fall paved the wall at the back of the net with a sharp header from the corner by Lalthathanga Khawlhring. Fall, who is also the only foreign defender to score the most goals in the Indian Super League made no mistake in this regard validating his ability to score from dead-ball situations. The imposing defender chose not to celebrate, instead raising both hands as a gesture of respect to his former club.
Following the goal, FC Goa decided to respond quickly to the initial setback. With more than half of the possession, Goa directed their attacks through the wings as they were trying to utilize this space. Noah Sadaoui of Goa kept on creating chances from the wing but the Gaurs were looking clueless to finish off chances as they were approaching the final third.
Midfielder Carl McHugh came close to levelling the score in the 36th minute, as did Brandon Fernandes just five minutes later. Odisha FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh had been miles off his line, but Odisha’s defensive unit quickly regrouped to thwart the attacking midfielder’s attempt to find the back of the net.
Carlos Martinez, the sole figure up front seemed to be unfit as he was unable to cause any trouble to the formidable duo of Mourtada Fall and Carlos Delgado. Ahmed Jaouh and Raynier Fernandez were successful enough to minimise the attacking threat from the top-notch midfield trio of FC Goa. Odisha tried to control the game from the middle of the park and were also relying on their wings to carry out their attack.
Amey Ranawade was flawless throughout the first half and was undoubtedly the best player for the away side. His constant overlapping runs seemed to cause trouble for the high line of FC Goa who were moving up the pitch to launch attacks constantly. The first half ended with a score line of 1-0 in favour of Odisha but Goa were relentless in their attacks throughout the half but failed to convert their chances.
Goa started the second half keeping the same momentum in their gameplay. Odisha was visibly not able to match up with the pace at which Goa was trying to set the tune in the second half. In the end, it was Noah’s agile footwork that resulted in him earning a penalty after the halftime interval. Fall brought down the 30-year-old, leading to a clear penalty being awarded to the home team. With pinpoint precision, Noah unleashed his penalty kick from the edge of the 18-yard box, sending the ball on a journey that ended in the back of the net.
Odisha immediately brought in Diego Maurício in place of Roy Krishna to bring about a change in the scoreline. There was a renewed energy in the attacker’s offensive moves after that. He embraced a more direct approach, quickly winning a ball from Jerry Mawihmingthanga before getting behind the Odisha backline and slamming the ball straight past the goalkeeper to break into a resounding celebration in the 68th minute.
Ahmed Jahouh and Fall, both former FC Goa teammates, combined to secure Odisha’s second goal of the night, once again capitalizing on a corner kick. Jahouh delivered an accurate pass, and Fall replicated his earlier effort, with the only distinction this time being his position on the far post rather than the near one.
However, the Gaurs were not content with just a single point. Jay Gupta’s goal in the 96th minute exemplified their unwavering determination. While reorganizing their defence, they continued to actively search for goal-scoring opportunities. This led to Victor Rodriguez assisting the fullback, who exhibited composure in a critical moment to enable the home team to secure the victory.
Odisha would have liked to take away a solitary point from Goa but they were unable at the end. On the other hand, FC Goa moves to the second position in the table with fewer games played. For now, both teams will be heading to a long break until they get back to action in the last week of October.
FC Goa’s upcoming match will be on October 21st, away from home, against East Bengal FC. On the other hand, Odisha FC is set to face Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi on October 27th.
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