Three points in the bag — finally! FC Goa returned to winning ways, after six consecutive draws, with a resounding 3-1 victory over Odisha FC in their Indian Super League encounter at the Fatorda Stadium, Margao, on Wednesday.
FC Goa’s first victory in over a month propelled the Gaurs to the fourth spot, putting them in a firm position to seal one of the two playoff spots up for grabs.
Having gotten off the blocks strongly, FC Goa took the lead in the 18th minute through Alberto Noguera. Jorge Ortiz fed the ball to centre-back Ivan Gonzalez on the left flank and the Spaniard floated a fine cross into the box which was duly met by a leaping Noguera.
The Gaurs doubled their lead eight minutes later when Ortiz coolly chipped the ball past the ’keeper. The goal, in fact, came from an Odisha FC corner. FC Goa custodian Dheeraj Singh parried away the ball and his side launched into an attack as Saviour Gama threaded a through ball for Ortiz. The Spaniard ran a good 30 yards before dinking it over Arshdeep Singh.
Diego Mauricio offered Odisha FC a lifeline when he netted in the 30th minute. Rakesh Pradhan’s cross from the left was poorly dealt with by Dheeraj and offered Mauricio an open goal to poke the ball into. However, Mauricio’s strike was the last goal of the evening for the Kalinga Warriors as they conceded once again in the 75th minute.
Ortiz turned the provider this time he curled in a peach of a corner for his countryman Gonzalez. The Spanish defender’s initial header was blocked by Arshdeep, but the defence failed to clear the ball and Gonzalez managed to slot it into the back of the net. He nearly got his second goal of the evening eight minutes later when his header rattled the crossbar. His match-winning performance saw him become the first defender to score and assist a goal this season.
Odisha FC remains at the bottom of the table.
Final on March 13
The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda will host the Indian Super League (ISL) final on March 13 for a record third time, the organisers announced on Wednesday.
March 5: First semifinal-1st leg; March 6: Second semifinal-1st leg.
March 8: First semifinal-2nd leg; March 9: Second semifinal-2nd leg.
March 13: Final.
The result: FC Goa (18’ Alberto Noguera, 26’ Jorge Ortiz, 75’ Ivan Gonzalez) 3 – 1 Odisha FC (30’ Diego Mauricio).
Thursday’s match: CFC vs NEUFC.