FC Goa got back to winning ways on Sunday night as they outclassed third-placed Kerala Blasters to register their first win of 2023. Iker Guarrotxena, Noah Sadaoui and Redeem Tlang scored a goal each to help Carlos Pena’s men record a comfortable 3-1 win.
Earlier, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena made just one change to the playing XI that started in last week’s draw against NorthEast United FC, as Devendra Murgaokar made his first start of the season, replacing Redeem Tlang.
Following a prolonged spell of early pressure, the Gaurs finally got their breakthrough in the 35th minute, courtesy of a penalty for a foul on Brandon Fernandes in the opposition box. Iker Guarrotxena stepped up to give the Gaurs a deserved lead, sending goalkeeper Prabhsukhan Singh Gill the wrong way.
In the 43rd minute, Pena’s boys doubled their lead, with Noah Sadaoui scoring his sixth of the season.
Anwar Ali’s intelligent long ball down the left flank saw Sadaoui get the better of Sandeep Singh before skipping past another lunging challenge and slotting it into the far corner.
Following the change of ends, Kerala Blasters showed signs of a comeback with Diamantakos nodding home from Luna’s free-kick in the 51st minute following a spell of domination by Kerala.
That would though turn out to be fool’s gold for last season’s runners up as FC Goa slammed the doors closed with a 69th minute goal on the break by substitute Redeem Tlang.
The win sees FC Goa win their first in five games and consolidate their place in the playoffs with a 4 point gap over the chasing pack.
They will now look to further build on the momentum on January 26 when they take on East Bengal. That game is slotted for a 7:30pm kickoff.