FC Goa down Kerala Blasters 2-1 to go top
Thanks to goals from Leo Moura and Gregory Arnolin, FC Goa beat Kerala Blasters FC 2-1 to go top in the 2015 Hero Indian Super League at Fatorda’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday night. With 10 points from five matches, the Gaurs overtook FC Pune City who have nine points from four matches, meanwhile Kerala suffered their third defeat in five matches.
For the most part of the first half, the game was well-contested. Ball possession changed sides frequently with plenty of intercepts and run-ins going around. The deadlock was broken by the visiting side in the 24th minute. Mohammed Rafi spotted a Rahul Bheke cross that came right into the FC Goa box, and he made no mistake heading it home.
The game grew more intense after that goal. Zico’s men finally answered in the added time of the first half. Just a few minutes before the referee’s whistle, Moura levelled it for the Gaurs. The Brazilian attacker spotted a ball deflected by Kerala Blasters FC goalkeeper Stephen Bywater and shot it to the top-left corner of the Kerala goal. Both teams went into the break at 1-1.
The second half saw the same style of well-contested football. Possession, however, was dominated by Kerala in the initial phase of the second half. The home supporters cranked up the noise level with the arrival of local boys Mandar Rao Dessai and Romeo Fernandes as substitutions in the 61st minute. But a hush followed, when in the 64th minute, from a corner, the Blasters came close to scoring their second, from a Sanchez Watt blast at first, and then two consecutive jabs by Bruno Perone.
It was crucial for both teams to gain those three points and elevate to a better position on the rankings table. And FC Goa beat the visitors to the chance, scoring the second goal in the 83rd minute. From a Mandar corner, Arnolin headed the ball past goalie Bywater.
Goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani stood tall towards the end and stopped CK Vineeth’s volley to keep Kerala at bay. The stands, packed at 18,927, witnessed a fast-paced game of football as the Gaurs rose to the top of the table.
This was the second time in the League that the Gaurs had come from behind to win the match. The match also saw India national team defender Narayan Das come back from national duty and play his first Hero ISL match of Season 2015 for FC Goa.
Club Award: FC Goa
Swift Moment of the Match: Mohammed Rafi (Kerala Blasters FC)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Gregory Arnolin (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Rahul Bheke (Kerala Blasters FC)
Hero of the Match: Leo Moura (FC Goa)
– ISL Media