Friday , April 12 2024

FC Goa hold Mumbai City to climb to fourth place!

A stellar strike in the second half by January signing Mohammad Yasir helped FC Goa return from Mumbai with a point, after securing a 1-1 draw against Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League 2023-24 season on Wednesday.

The result means that the Gaurs have also arrested their recent slide of back-to-back defeats, with the earned point guiding them to fourth place on the standings.

Earlier in the day, Manolo Marquez, the head coach of the Goan outfit, named three changes to the playing XI against the Islanders. Dheeraj Singh started between the sticks for the first time this league season, while Paulo Retre replaced Carl McHugh who was suspended for the clash.

After sitting out against Kerala Blasters earlier this week, Carlos Martinez also returned to action, combining with Noah Sadaoui, Boris Singh and Yasir in attack. He did well right from the start to repay his coach’s faith in him, creating FC Goa’s first big chance of the match in the 15th minute.

The Spaniard tested Mumbai City FC goalkeeper Phurba Lachenpa with a strong shot from close range that the latter parried away for a corner-kick with a lot of effort.

In return, the hosts attempted to get their breakthrough in the 23rd minute. Former Gaur Iker Guarrotxena attempted to chip Dheeraj Singh from right under his nose, only for the goalkeeper to anticipate the move and avert the danger expertly.

A minute later, the crossbar came in between FC Goa and the opening goal, after the Men in Orange staged an impressive counter-attack. After passing the ball out wide from the midfield, Rowllin Borges evaded defenders and set off on a run to meet Noah Sadaoui’s cross into the penalty box.

Unfortunately for the Nuvem native who scored one of Goa’s two goals against the Blasters, his header ricocheted off the bar and was eventually cleared away.

After all of this, it was Mumbai City who managed to take a lead. Less than a minute following the change of ends, Dheeraj had to pick the ball out from his own net when Vikram Partap Singh at the far post poked home Bipin Singh’s cross from the right flank.

Having thus been served with a wake-up call, the Gaurs intensified their efforts in the hunt for a goal themselves, and were deservingly rewarded in the 61st minute.

Martinez’s pass to Yasir was timed to perfection as the 25-year-old stepped forward and unleashed a shot from just outside the box that Lachenpa had no reply to, the ball grazing his arms before nestling at the back of the net and the scoresheet returning to level terms.

The rest of the game was controlled majorly by FC Goa thanks to this insurance strike. Petr Kratky’s side, meanwhile, had the laborious task of making sure no further damage was done.

Borja Herrera’s introduction in the 83rd minute shifted the momentum further towards the Men in Orange, who threw the kitchen sink in search of a tie-breaker. The Super Cup winner himself attempted a handful of shots on goal, but the Mumbai City FC defence held their fort somehow.

Ultimately, the hosts had to share the spoils with FC Goa, who are now on 29 points from 16 matches. With only three points separating them from table-toppers Odisha FC, Marquez and his boys will look to go onwards and upwards when they return home to take on East Bengal FC in their next assignment on March 6.

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