Bhubaneswar: Goa survived a late scare to beat Jamshedpur FC 4-3 in the third Hero Super Cup 2019 quarter-final at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. The Gaurs seemed to be cruising to a convincing win after being 4-1 up until the 73rd minute, but two late goals from Jamshedpur set up a thrilling finish to the match. Edu Bedia was sent off with a double booking, leaving Goa to fend off Jamshedpur with 10-men for the final eight minutes plus added time.
The result sets up a mouth-watering semi-final clash between Goa and Hero I-League 2018-19 champions Chennai City FC, who stunned Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 winners Bengaluru FC in their quarter-final clash on Thursday.
The match got off to a lively start with both teams exhibiting some attacking intent early on, carving out a few half-chances but nothing substantial enough to seriously worry either goalkeeper. Brandon Fernandes got a golden opportunity to break the deadlock on the 13th minute when he raced into the box to get on the end of a wayward clearance by Tiri. Karan Amin and Pratik Chowdhary, however, made sure they kept the Goa winger under enough pressure, forcing him to drag his effort wide.
Four minutes later, Jamshedpur came close as Tiri managed to get on the end of a Carlos Calvo corner. The Jamshedpur skipper tried to redirect the ball into ne net with the side of his foot but couldn’t hit the target.
As the contest progressed, both teams toiled hard to deny their opposite numbers any time and space in the middle of the park. It was turning out to be an intriguing battle between two star-studded midfields for the control of the tie.
The opening goal finally came on the 22nd minute. Jamshedpur conceded a soft free-kick down the left and Brandon made sure he put the ball into the danger zone. Edu Bedia ghosted in between two Jamshedpur defenders at the near post and buried his flicked header into the goal past a helpless Rafique Ali.
Jamshedpur could have drawn level just five minutes later when Jerry Mawhmingthanga made good use of his pace and found himself face to face with Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz. The Jamshedpur man tried to curl one across Nawaz, but the young custodian showed impeccable anticipation to rescue his team.
The Gaurs almost doubled their advantage just before the 40-minute mark. Zaid Krouch meandered through the Jamshedpur defence and took on his shot from inside the box. Ali got the slightest of touches to the Moroccan’s powerful drive to make sure the ball hit the crossbar and not the back of the net.
Goa, however, did find the second goal in the dying seconds of the first half. The Gaurs won another free-kick from a similar position to the one which resulted in the first goal. Brandon took over the dead ball duty yet again and fizzed in another dangerous ball into the Jamshedpur box. The effort took a touch off Pablo Morgado and ended up inside the goal. The first half ended with the Gaurs 2-0 up.
Goa could have pulled away even further shortly after the restart. Krouch found space inside the Jamshedpur box and cut the ball back for an onrushing Jackichand Singh. The winger just needed to tap the ball inside an unguarded goal, but somehow found the wrong side of the post.
The Miners tried to increase the tempo and pressed high in an attempt to get back into the match but were met with stern resistance from a well-drilled Goa defence. On the other end of the pitch, Goa’s abundance of attacking talent made sure they constantly kept the Jamshedpur defence busy. Ferran Corominas came close at the hour mark, after a brilliant through ball from Bedia played him through, but Ali came out just in time to deny the Hero ISL 2018-19 Golden Boot winner.
Goa’s third of the night looked likely and finally materialized on the 64th minute. Krouch raced forward after a quick counter attack and slid the ball in for Seriton Fernandes, who had his afterburners on in an effort to get into the box. The Goa full back took the ball in his stride and fired Goa to a 3-0 lead.
With the match seemingly slipping away, a rare mistake by Mourtada Fall gave Jamshedpur the faintest of hopes. Calvo took advantage of the Senegalese defender’s indecisiveness to clear the ball and picked out an unmarked Morgado inside the box, who scored to make it 3-1.
Goa, however, reclaimed their three-goal advantage just minutes later. Bedia’s shot from range hit Pratik’s hand inside the Jamshedpur box, prompting the referee to point towards the penalty box. Corominas promptly dispatched the spot kick after sending Ali the wrong way.
With the score reading 4-1 with just 17 minutes to go, many would have considered the match done and dusted. But the Miners weren’t done just yet. Calvo found Sergio Cidoncha inside the Goa box with a lovely cross from the left and the Spaniard headed home from close range on the 77th minute to make it 4-2.
Five minutes later, Jamshedpur were awarded a penalty of their own after Bedia brought down Morgado inside the Goa box. The rash challenge earned the Goa captain his second booking of the night and his marching orders. The resultant spot kick was converted by Calvo to set up an intriguing finish to the dramatic tie.
With a man down, the Gaurs sat deep and weathered a barrage of Jamshedpur attacks to ensure the victory and the progression to the Hero Super Cup 2019 semi-finals.
At the post-match press conference, a relieved FC Goa head coach Sergio Lobera analyzed the performance and said, “I’m very happy with the performance of the team. The score was 4-1. At that time, we could have managed the game much better. I think our assistant coach is doing a great job. We have improved a lot in offensive and defensive set-pieces. I’m very happy with this improvement.”
The Spaniard also expressed his delight at the way the young Indian players have progressed. Lobera, particularly, namedropped Brandon, who was directly involved with Goa’s first two goals of the match, and stated, “I believe that the players have been growing with the team. I think Brandon is a great player. He is improving day by day. I think he should be selected in the national team. He helps us a lot with his qualities.”
“I think for us the performance of the Indian players is key. I’m delighted with the work they have doing this season. I think the Indian players are talented. Not only our players but all Indian players in general. With help, they can come out as good and talented players,” he added.
From the Jamshedpur camp, assistant coach Guillermo attended the briefing. Asked if the players could be held responsible for the first two FC Goa goals, which came from dead ball situations, he said, “In this game, we lost two goals from set-pieces. I think we missed the plot a little bit there. Otherwise, the team was quite good. We came back from 4-1 against us. At the end of the day, we are very proud of the work of the team. It was a very good effort from them.”
“I think both goals were different. For the first goal, the free-kick was quite good for them and was difficult to defend. The second goal was an easy one to clear, but we couldn’t do it. Mistakes happen in a game. We cannot control it sometimes. The team effort was good,” he further opined.