Wednesday , December 1 2021

Ten men FC Goa share spoils with SC East Bengal!

FC Goa extended their unbeaten run to seven games after a hard-fought 1-1 draw against SC East Bengal. The Gaurs showed real steel for the second game running to rescue a point despite playing with a numerical disadvantage for the last thirty minutes of the game.

Igor Angulo scored his 10th of the season in his first start in four games to put FC Goa into the lead before SC East Bengal equalised from a set-piece in the second half. The game tilted heavily in favour of the Red and Gold after Edu Bedia was sent off for two yellows. The FC Goa backline though stood strong to bring back a point.

Juan Ferrando, who was missing the action from the dugout due to a suspension of his own, handed out two debuts. Adil Khan took up one of the spots at the heart of the defence while Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem took up his place between the sticks – the first time in FC Goa colours.

Also back in the starting eleven was Igor Angulo, who further extended his lead in the race for the ISL Golden Boot. This was his first start in four games after missing time due to illness. Injuries and suspensions meant that there were a total of five changes made by Ferrando to the starting line-up.

Robbie Fowler, on the other hand, also named a total of five changes to his side, for the first time since playing FC Goa in the first leg.

SC East Bengal got a golden opportunity to go ahead in the very first minute when they were awarded a penalty after Mohamed Ali was deemed to have fouled Narayan Das after being sold short on a return pass. Anthony Pilkington stepped up to the plate for the Torchbearers but couldn’t keep his attempt on target as his shot went wide.

The Gaurs came roaring back from the lacklustre start and nearly got their noses ahead in the 5th minute of the contest. Jorge Ortiz did well to intercept before playing in Angulo. The forward’s first-time attempt though was saved well by the in-form Debjit Mazumdar in the East Bengal goal.

The game remained a feisty one for the first half an hour with Angulo and Ortiz testing Mazumdar from long range as the Gaurs built up the pressure. On the other end, Bright Enobakhare looked to inspire the away side in the attacking third as he dribbled and ran to cause tension in the Goa backline.

The Gaurs finally bore the fruit for their repeated attacking endeavours in the 39th minute of the contest. Good pressure in the middle helped Princeton Rebello nick the ball away from the away side. And it was again that man – Igor Angulo. The Spaniard rounded off the keeper and put the finishing touches to an equally delightful ball from Alberto Noguera, whose brilliantly weighted pass had helped put Angulo beyond the East Bengal backline.

The second half got off to a scrappy start characterised by incessant stoppages in play. It was the visitors who got the first big opportunity.

It was Enobakhare again with another of his mazy runs in the 58th minute of the contest. The Nigerian did well to skip past two FC Goa players before cutting it back for the onrushing Wahengbam Angousana. The midfielder, though, wasn’t able to keep his first-time effort on goal.

The Kolkata side didn’t have to wait too long for the equaliser as Danny Fox stabbed from close range in the 65th minute after the Gaurs failed to clear their lines from a free-kick.

Things got even trickier for FC Goa a minute later after Edu Bedia was shown his second yellow of the night – reducing the Gaurs to 10 men for the second game running.

Despite going a man down, the backline held fort while Dheeraj in goal pulled off two brilliant reflex saves to keep the game on level terms. The point helps FC Goa further fortify their position in the top four with 21 points from 14 games whilst SC East Bengal remain 10th on the table with 13 points from their 14 games.

Juan Ferrando’s men will be back in action on February 4 when they pay their last visit to the Tilak Maidan for the league season to take on NorthEast United FC. That game is slated for a 7:30 pm IST kick-off.

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