FC Goa beat spirited Delhi Dynamos FC 2-0.
It was the master versus the apprentice as FC Goa hosted Delhi Dynamos FC in their first game of the second season of the Hero Indian Super League [ISL] on Sunday at Fatorda. FC Goa coach Zico was looking to put one over his fellow Brazilian counterpart Roberto Carlos, Delhi Dynamos FC’s marquee player-cum-coach. And boy, did his men deliver in front of a jam-packed crowd of 18,013 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium!
Two first-half goals from the Gaurs proved to be enough for the home team to run away to a 2-0 win. An own goal by Souvik Chakrabarti and a Reinaldo goal were enough to see off a spirited display from Delhi Dynamos FC.
The home team wasted no time to get right into the thick of things when Romeo Fernandes slipped past his marker effortlessly to send a perfectly weighed pass into the box for Mandar Rao Dessai, who shot straight into an on-rushing Chakrabarti for him to put though his own goal inside three minutes. Reinaldo soon fired straight at the keeper five minutes later to maintain Goa’s superiority in the opening exchanges.
Goa’s Leo Moura was dominating the midfield. His beautifully-hit diagonal ball found Reinaldo out wide in acres of space and the Brazilian’s powerful shot proved to be too much for the keeper to handle as Moura powered into the box to hit the rebound straight into the keeper and onto the post. Delhi looked to capitalize immediately with a swift counter-attack that almost caught the Goa defence off-guard.
Delhi started to see more of the ball at the quarter-hour mark with Florent Malouda taking the lead. The French winger would almost equalize in the 18th minute when a Vinicius cross found him unmarked in the box, only for the former French international to head over the bar.
Goa could have made it 2-0 on the 24th minute but a cross from Dessai would just elude a diving Reinaldo after a defence-splitting pass by Jofre from midfield cut open the Delhi defence.
The visitors provided the Gaurs with a timely reminder of what they could do on 27 minutes when a strong drive by Hans Mulder skimmed past the FC Goa post. The game settled down at the half-hour mark as Delhi started to pry the FC Goa goal only to come up against some stubborn resistance. The Lions would ultimately be made to pay for failing to break through the Goan backline as a Jofre free-kick at the stroke of half-time from the edge of the box would be kneed in by Goa’s biggest attacking threat of the first half, Reinaldo, to put the home side 2-0 up at the break.
Delhi’s marquee player-cum-coach wasted no time to usher in the changes at half-time, bringing on both Gustavo dos Santos and himself to alter the course of the game. The visitors suddenly looked to take advantage of this new lease of life when multiple efforts from substitute dos Santos, Malouda and Richard Gadze were scrambled away from the Goa goal. John Arne Riise came the closest among the Delhi boys to score during this exchange when his left-footed effort just grazed the outside of the post. Malouda came close once again in the 71st minute with header that rocketed over the FC Goa goal.
Richard Gadze finally got his first shot on goal for Delhi in the 80th minute. The Ghanian International had been heavily involved in most of the attacks for the Lions from the outset without much reward. This would be the last meaningful piece of action for Delhi in the match.
Goa controlled the last ten minutes of the game, passing it around amongst themselves, picking the right moments to go forward and finish off the game. A bicycle kick from Gregory Arnolin and a powerful drive from substitute Jonatan Luca almost killed off the game. But in the end the two first-half strikes proved to be enough for FC Goa to secure their first win of the season.
Ozone Group Club Award – FC Goa
Swift Moment of the Match – Reinaldo (FC Goa)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – Sanjiban Ghosh (Delhi Dynamos FC)
Hero of the Match – Mandar Rao Dessai (FC Goa)