Category: Domestic

Bengaluru FC B held to a goalless draw by LoneStar Kashmir

Bengaluru: Bengaluru FC B were held to a goalless draw by LoneStar Kashmir FC in a Hero 2nd Division League encounter at the Bengaluru Football Stadium, on Friday. The stalemate brought an end to Blue Colts’ four-match winning run in Group A, but Naushad Moosa’s boys stay unbeaten and on top of the group with 13 points from five games.

Playing their game after a long gap, Moosa started the game with six players from the first team with Aditya Patra returning in goal alongside Gursimrat Singh Gill, Sairuat Kima, Parag Shrivas, Myron Mendes and Edmund Lalrindika.

The Blue Colts began the game aggressively and created more than five close chances in the opening twenty minutes. The closest chances fell for Naorem Roshan Singh, Myron Mendes and Edmund. However, none was as clear as the one that fell for Altamash Sayed in the 12th minute. The playmaker was unmarked and at the end of an inch-perfect ball in from the left by Roshan at the far post. However, Altamash somehow missed the attempt failing to get a clean touch.

LoneStar Kashmir struggled to create any real danger for major part of the first half but had a glorious chance right before the break. Duleep Menon found himself clear in the box but his effort from close was saved by BFC custodian Patra.

The second half saw both teams struggle in creating clear goal scoring chances. While the Blue Colts saw majority of the possession, LoneStar Kashmir sat back, defending deep in their own territory, only pushing ahead on counter attacks.

It was Bengaluru who came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the 83rd minute when Altamash unleashed a powerful left-footer but his effort from distance was tipped over by Muhammed Nalakath in the rival goal. The Blues kept the pressure on and pushed up with most players but couldn’t find the breakthrough as the game ended 0-0.

Bengaluru FC B play ARA FC next at the Bengaluru Football Stadium on March 20.

Bengaluru FC B host LoneStar Kashmir in 2nd Division League

Bengaluru: Group A leaders Bengaluru FC B will be keen to build on their winning momentum when they take on LoneStar Kashmir FC in their fifth game of the Hero 2nd Division League at the Bengaluru Football Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Friday.

Having set the pace at the top with four successive wins in their group, three of which came on the road, the Blue Colts will look to make the most of the second half of the group games which takes place over the course of the next two weeks.

“The players had a short break after their last game in Delhi. We have been training regularly and some of our players were part of the first team for the ISL’s final League stage game against Jamshedpur. While it is not easy to push players without competitive games, we played a friendly in between which has helped us during this break,” said BFC B Head Coach Naushad Moosa on the eve of the game.

While Bengaluru’s away game in Srinagar was postponed, they have already faced their opponents earlier in the season. Back in October, the Blue Colts ran out 7-0 winners over LoneStar Kashmir in the J&K Invitational Cup. However, with the visitors having improved their team since then, Moosa expects his side to avoid complacency.

“We played against LoneStar in Srinagar at the start of the season. But I don’t want my players to be casual in their approach for this game. It’s important to stay focused and take this game seriously. It’s been five months since then and they have added two foreigners and a few Indian players to strengthen their squad. Which means they will be a different side to the one we faced. Our objective is to stay on top of the group and we will have to be at our best to take anything away from this game,” added Moosa

On the team news front, the Blue Colts will miss the services of midfielder Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha after the youngster picked up an ankle injury in training. Meanwhile, a few key players have returned to the squad, having been part of the first team in the ISL.

The game kicks off at 3.30 pm at the Bengaluru Football Stadium tomorrow.

Stephenson Pale’s hat-trick spurs Mohammedan to 6-0 win over TRAU

KALYANI: Mohammedan Sporting Club thrash TRAU FC 6-0 on Wednesday to keep their Hero 2nd Division League final round hopes alive.

The big win at Kalyani Stadium was powered by Stephenson Pale’s (43′, 71′, 90+1′) hat-trick. The winger was well supported by skipper Philip Adjah (45+5′ & 66′) who scored a brace along with Mohammad Amirul’s (86′) lone strike.

As a result of this win Mohammedan SC have moved to second spot in Group C standings on the basis of goal difference in head-to-head with 13 points from their 8 matches.

Mohammedan SC dominated proceedings from the very beginning and kept the ball in the rival half itself during the opening quarter, however, struggled to break down a well-organised TRAU defence.

On the other hand, TRAU who were pressed back for the majority of the half, did well to absorb the pressure and looked dangerous on the few times they attacked. Goalkeeper Priyant Singh had to make a number of fine saves to keep Mohammedan SC in the contest.

Nonetheless, Mohammedan SC almost took the lead when Satyam Sharma pumped up a ball from the midfield in the 28th minute. The perfect pass found Adjah on the run just outside the box, but the Ghanaian’s effort narrowly missed the target.

However, Mohammedan SC continued to push forward and were rewarded with the opening goal in the 43rd minute when Pale head past TRAU goalkeeper Mithun Samonto from Satyam Sharma’s free-kick to give his side the well-deserved lead.

The rampant Black Panthers added their second goal five minutes into first-half stoppage time when Adjah converted a penalty after TRAU’s Prem Singh committed handball inside the box.

Mohammedan SC started the second-half like a house on fire, and it was evident from the very beginning that Black Panthers were going to collect full points as TRAU players were outclassed in all departments.

Mohammedan SC duly added the third through Adjah in the 66th minute. TRAU defense gave the ball away carelessly and Adjah burst through into the area on the left hand side and deposited the ball past the helpless Mithun for a 3-0 lead.

It was 4-0 five minutes later when Pale grabbed his second of the day after slotting home a left wing cross from Satyam.

The scoring spree did not end there as substitute Amirul increased the lead further after striking home in the 86th minute. The pass came in from Arthur Kouassi for Amirul who produced a good strike from the edge of the area to find the left hand side of goal.

Meanwhile, TRAU had a couple of good opportunities to reduce the margin but the visitors were unlucky and Mohammedan SC well at the back.

Mohammedan SC didn’t take their foot off the accelerator and continued to dominate proceedings but had to wait till injury time to get their sixth when Pale scored from close range to complete his hattrick.

The Black Panthers will now prepare for Rainbow AC in their last home game on Sunday at Kalyani.

ISL 5: Goa set final date with Bengaluru despite loss against Mumbai

GOA: FC Goa booked their place in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19 final despite a 0-1 loss in the second leg of their semi-final encounter against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Tuesday. The Gaurs’ 5-1 victory in the first leg in Mumbai ensured their progression to the grand finale on March 17 with a 5-2 aggregate scoreline.

Goa will face off against Bengaluru FC for the title on Sunday at the Mumbai Football Arena.

Mumbai needed an early goal to have any chance of overturning the massive 5-1 first leg deficit and Rafael Bastos did exactly that on the 6th minute. Arnold Issoko rode a challenge, carried the ball forward and rolled the ball in perfectly for an onrushing Rafael Bastos. The Brazilian calmly slotted it in to open the scoring. Incidentally, it was the same Issoko-Bastos combination which led to the first goal of the first leg at Mumbai.

Goa, however, didn’t look even slightly rattled by the early goal and continued to exhibit their attacking brand of football, pressing high for an equaliser. Despite trailing the possession stats in the early stages, the Islanders carved out another big opportunity on the 23rd minute. Ahmed Jahouh, uncharacteristically, kept hold of the ball for a little too long, allowing Bastos to nick possession. The Brazilian sent Modou Sougou through on goal. Goa goalkeeper Naveen Kumar came out quickly to block the striker’s effort and Mourtada Fall swept up after him to clear the danger. The Mumbai players appealed for a handball by Fall, but the referee wasn’t interested.

After the 25-minute mark, the balance of the match switched towards Mumbai as the Islanders upped the ante and started pushing the Gaurs on the back foot. With Jahouh picking up a yellow card, the Moroccan was taken off on the 39th minute to avoid a second booking, which would have ruled him out of the final. Edu Bedia came on in his place.

Goa did manage to wrestle back the reins in the final 10 minutes of the first period, but the half ended with the away team one goal to the good.

The home team started as the brighter of the two sides in the second half, with Ferran Corominas getting an early look at goal. But his shot from distance was dealt with Amrinder Singh without too much difficulty. On the 56th minute, Coro found himself on the end of another opportunity to grab the equaliser, this time from inside the box. The Spaniard’s shot, however, came off the crossbar.

The Gaurs kept up the pressure, pegging the Mumbai defence back and even had a penalty claim turned down after Anwar Ali seemed to have blocked off Hugo Boumous inside the box.

With the clock ticking down, Mumbai created a few chances of their own to score. First, Sougou’s shot eluded the far post by inches and then Naveen Kumar pulled off a brilliant save to keep out substitute Matias Mirabaje’s dipping free kick. Sougou did get a second bite of the cherry from the rebound but blasted it high.

Philip Adjah: TRAU showdown a six-pointer for Mohammedan SC

KOLKATA: Mohammedan Sporting Club skipper Philip Adjah believes their midweek Hero 2nd Division League Preliminary Round Group C clash with TRAU FC is worth six points. The match at Kalyani Stadium will kick-off at 3:00 PM on Wednesday.

Although, Mohammedan SC currently lying on 4th position in Group C table with 10 points from 7 points but a victory over TRAU, who are on 13 points from 7 matches as well, could send them to second behind Chhinga Veng FC and establish as firm contenders for a final round berth, however, anything less than a win and it could be over.

“Both teams are desperate for the three points. A draw won’t be enough and that makes this game a six pointer. For us we will go out there and just play our normal attacking game,” Adjah said.

“We know that we won’t have it all our way because there is so much at stake for both teams, it’s a must-win six-pointer for us. If they sit back and wait for a counter attack we have to make sure we are tight at the back as well while we attack them. Such games between such two teams are not easy ones but we want three points at any cost,” the Ghanaian striker explained.

During their past two matches, the Black Panthers were convincing winners and managed to score a combined total of seven goals in two matches without conceding any. Adjah himself scored thrice in those two matches and believe that they can beat TRAU for the first time in Hero 2nd Division League, based on their performances against ATK Reserves and Chhinga Veng.

“We are in a good momentum, getting the results, playing well. Both the teams want to play and win. I remember we lost to them on away, we were leading and then allowed them to come back into the match. So now we just want to win and kill it off here in Kalyani,” he added.

Nonetheless, defender Kamran Farooque who played a crucial role in victories over ATK Reserves and Chhinga Veng is not avalaible for selection against TRAU as he got a straight red Chhinga Veng.

Though Adjah has stated that the absence of Kamran will be a major loss for the side, but ensures that rest of team will soldier on and do the business against TRAU.

ISL 5: Bengaluru leave it late to send NorthEast United packing

Bengaluru: Bengaluru – the football club and the city – rose to the occasion yet again, as Carles Cuadrat’s men beat NorthEast United and the odds to make it to the final of the Indian Super League for a second successive season. Talismanic striker Miku made amends for a string of missed chances in the first half, with a goal (72nd), before Dimas Delgado got one for himself to turn the aggregate in the Blues’ favour. (87’). Sunil Chhetri (90+2’) then added one for good measure as Bengaluru ran out 3-0 winners on the night, to progress to the final with a 4-2 aggregate scoreline.

In a bid to accommodate Xisco Hernandez in the midfield behind Miku, Cuadrat pulled Harmanjot Khabra from the middle and drafted him at the right-back position, while Rahul Bheke joined Juanan in the centre of defence, ahead of Albert Serran, who dropped to the bench.

NorthEast United, meanwhile, chose to start with striker Juan Mascia and midfielder Fanai Lalrempuia in place of Bartholomew Ogbeche and Rowllin Borges – both of who picked up hamstring injuries in Guwahati. Eelco Schattorie, however, had to deal with a situation minutes from kick-off after his captain and left-back, Robert Lalthlamuana pulled out with an injury during warm-ups. The Dutchman was left with little choice but to replace Lalthlamuana with former Bengaluru man, Keegan Pereira.

Knowing exactly what’s needed of them, and with a clock to beat, the Blues put the NorthEast defence to the sword without allowing the visitors any room to settle. But it was a half where Bengaluru, and Miku in particular, inexplicably failed to stick the ball in the back of the net, not once, but three times. The Venezuelan striker first headed an in-swinging cross from Nishu Kumar wide, then minutes later fired over after Udanta Singh picked him with the perfect cut-back in the box. But it was the third miss that had the Kanteerava gasp in collective disbelief. In what would have been the goal of the season, Miku magically weaved past five red shirts and found himself with only Pawan Kumar to beat, before shooting tamely and straight at the NorthEast ’keeper.

Bengaluru began the second half with as much urgency, pushing the visitors to concede a flurry of corners. If Miku missed what could have been the goal of the season, a blinding save by Pawan denied Nishu his entry to the contest in the 51st minute. Picking up a clearance from the NorthEast box, Nishu smashed the ball that flew like an arrow towards the goal, only for Pawan to tip it over while in full flight.

With a little more than twenty minutes left on the clock, Cuadrat took his first gamble, pulling off Juanan Gonzalez for Luisma Villa and Bengaluru would find the net only moments later. Bringing down a lob over from Dimas, Xisco played the pass back to Udanta, who swung a cross into the area that Miku met with the deftest of touches. Flicking it with the outside of his right ankle, the Venezuelan sent the ball far past the reach of Pawan and shot Bengaluru into the lead. Earlier, NorthEast United were dealt a blow as Uruguayan striker Federico Gallego was stretchered off after his attempt to block Miku’s shot.

With the scoreline enough to send Bengaluru through to the final, Cuadrat sent on Serran to replace Xisco, adding reinforcements at the back. But the Blues refused to sit back and added another just 15 minutes later through Dimas. Set free on the counter, Udanta turned on his turbos to skip past Keegan and then send a cross that Pawan could only tip onto his bar. With the ball bouncing back into play, Dimas arrived to place his shot past Pawan and double the Blues’ advantage.

With six minutes of time added on, NorthEast looked to score a goal to take the tie into extra time, and the Blues took advantage of the visitors’ high line once again. Chhetri, regaining possession in midfield, played a quick give-and-go with Miku to beat the offside trap and run through on goal. Up against Pawan and with time on his hands, Chhetri feinted once and pushed the ball past the advancing NorthEast custodian, and then slotted home to make it 3-0 on the night and send Bengaluru through to the final.

Bengaluru will face one of Mumbai City FC or FC Goa in the showpiece event, set to take place at the Mumbai Football Arena, on March 17th.

ISL 5: Stage set for a fightback at the Fortress

Stage set for a fightback at the Fortress

Bengaluru FC Confident Of Overturning 2-1 Deficit As NorthEast United Stand Between Cuadrat’s Boys And A Spot In The ISL Final

Bengaluru: In what is now a familiar script, it all comes down to a Monday night at the Fortress where Bengaluru FC have their task cut out against NorthEast United, who stand in the way of the Blues and a second successive appearance in the final of the Indian Super League. A 2-1 defeat away from home means Eelco Schattorie-coached NorthEast United come to the Fortress with an advantage, but it’s one that Carles Cuadrat believes his Blues can negate with the whole city backing them.

The late goal in Guwahati might have given the visitors an edge, but the tie is far from over and comes down to three straight equations. The simplest result the Blues will need to make the final is a 1-0 win, thanks to Xisco Hernandez’s goal away from home. Should the Blues win 2-1, extra time and then penalties – if needed – will decide the game. Finally, should NorthEast United score two goals or more, the Blues will need to win the tie by a two-goal margin to book a ticket to the showpiece event in Mumbai.

“We’re ready for the big game. The mood in the dressing room is good and the feeling all around is that we can give the fans one of those famous nights at the Kanteerava, like we have done in the past. We did it against JDT in the AFC Cup and then against FC Pune City in last year’s semifinal. We believe that with the help of the city, we can deliver another special night that won’t be forgotten soon,” said Cuadrat, while addressing the media on Sunday.

The Blues will bank on their experience of being involved in two-legged knock-out fixtures in the past. Bengaluru famously beat Malaysian side Johor 3-1 at home after drawing 1-1 in the away leg, and became the first Indian side to make the AFC Cup final. Pitted against FC Pune City in the semifinal of the ISL last season, the Blues played out a goalless draw in Pune, before quelling the visitors’ challenge with a 3-1 result at home. Cuadrat will hope that the familiarity of the situation will give his team the confidence needed to get the job done once again.

Bengaluru will also bank on their flawless form at home, where they haven’t lost a game this season. The Kanteerava has been a Fortress in every sense of the term where the Blues have won six games and drawn three in the league stages of the competition. In another encouraging statistic, Bengaluru have always found the back of the net at the Kanteerava this season, and there won’t be a better time than Monday night, to extend that record.

On the possibility of the game going into extra time, Cuadrat said he was confident that his team would pull through if the equation came down to that. “I cannot predict what will unfold tomorrow, but what I certain of is that we will be competitive throughout. If circumstances take the game to extra time, I have a feeling we can get the job done,” he said.

NorthEast suffered a double blow on Thursday when their talismanic striker Bartholomew Ogbeche and influential midfielder Rowllin Borges suffered hamstring injuries in the first leg in Guwahati. Barring a medical miracle, the duo look certain to miss the second leg in Bengaluru. Ogbeche has been NorthEast’s star, scoring twelve times this season, while Borges has commanded the midfield with confidence. Schattorie brought on Juan Mascia and Nikhil Kadam to replace Ogbeche and Borges respectively, and it needs to be seen if the Dutchman chooses to start with them in the reverse fixture.

The game kicks off at 7.30 pm and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Colors Kannada TV, Hotstar and JioTV.

I-League climax enthralls fans

NEW DELHI, March 10, 2019: It may not be wrong to perhaps find Hero I-League as a synonym of riveting. Not many top-flight professional leagues come to mind when a last day finish to decide the champions in the title race is counted.

For the Hero I-League, India’s top flight, it has become a regular fashion to produce a stunning climax time and again for the fans to hog on.

With a rise of more than 58% in-stadia attendance last season, the Hero I-League has gifted four last day climaxes in five seasons, giving the spotlight to decide the champions amongst a suspenseful backdrop; and mind you, a new champion every time in the last five seasons.

The 2014-15 season of the Hero I-League saw Mohun Bagan end their dry run and lift the Hero I-League for the very first time. On the final day, the title race was locked between JSW Bengaluru FC and the Kolkata outfit with the former needing a win to pip the latter. Eventually, they ran away with the trophy in front of their fans.

As the script would have it, Bengaluru FC were on their way to be crowned the new champions but Bello Razzaq’s late header equalized to end the proceedings at 1-1. Bagan were the new champions of India with 39 points, while Bengaluru FC trailed at 37.

An unexpected twist in the history of the Hero I-League was waiting in the 2016-17 season when underdogs Aizawl FC, did a Leicester City. They upset the giants of Kolkata and won the trophy. The title race in that season also went down to the final day with Aizawl FC needing just a point against Shillong Lajong, in red hot form at that time.

Hot on the heels were Mohun Bagan, but that mattered little to Kahild Jamil and his men who played out a 1-1 draw finishing on 37 points to take the coveted trophy. Bagan finished runners-up with a point adrift.

The title race became ever more interesting in the 2017-18 season when four teams were in contention to lift the Hero I-League trophy on the last day – Minerva Punjab FC, NEROCA, East Bengal and Mohun Bagan.

The season also saw newly promoted from the 2ND Division NEROCA FC give a run of their money to the heavyweights in the league. However, it was Minerva Punjab FC who made the most on the final day and rode on lady luck to be crowned the champions.

Chennai City FC were running away with the title in the 2018-19 season, but a resurgence by Quess East Bengal, and uncanny results for the Chennai outfit led the Hero I-League title to be decided on the last day.

With 4 title races in 5 seasons being decided on the last day and new champions being crowned in the last 5 season, the Hero I-League has tantalized fans, and given a climax better than any movie for the neutrals.

It has kept hopes up, expectations high and above all it has maintained and taken euphoria of the fans to extreme levels.

I-League 2018/19: Gaurav Bora strikes twice to make Chennai City FC’s I-League dream come true

Coimbatore, March 9, 2019: Assam-born 20-year old Delhi lad, Gaurav Bora did the star turn with two second-half goals, as Chennai City FC won their maiden Hero I-League title, beating defending champions Minerva Punjab FC 3-1 in their final game of the 12th Hero I-League at the Nehru stadium in Coimbatore.

Chennai finished with 43 points, one ahead of Quess East Bengal (QEB), who despite winning their final game in Kozhikode against Gokulam Kerala, saw their dreams of the first-ever title triumph fade away in Coimbatore.

Pedro Manzi, their premiere Spanish striker fittingly scored a goal to join Churchill Brother’s Willis Plaza as the joint top scorer of the league with 21 goals apiece, but the day undoubtedly belonged to the young Gaurav Bora, a versatile defender cum midfielder who capped off a brilliant season with a double-strike when it mattered most for his team.

It did not begin perfectly as Minerva took an early lead in the 3rd minute of the game through Ukranian recruit Roland Bilala. It was off a Juan Querro free-kick from the right flank, that he rose to beat his marker and lodge his header into the back of the net.

Chennai kept pressing thereafter and with Nestor Gordillo missing through suspension, it was left to his fellow Spaniard Sandro Rodriguez to fuel all attacks. He along with Slovakian Jozef Kaplan and Romario Jesuraj, both of whom were constantly switching flanks, were constantly trying to create for Manzi.

For Minerva, most of their openings were being created by Querro from the left flank. The diminutive Spaniard finding goal-scorer Roland again in the 40th minute with a wonderful cross, but the Ukranian could not make most of a free-header this time.

Upon commencement of the second half, Chennai continued to get better control of the game. A Sydney Vanspaul effort in the 53rd minute from distance missed the target, but not by much.

Two minutes later, Chennai got the opening they were looking for on a platter. Akashdeep Singh in an effort to clear inadvertently handled the ball inside the box and referee Santhosh Bhaskaran had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Manzi displayed outrageous confidence in pointing the goalkeeper to the spot where he would be placing the ball and did exactly what to bring Chennai firmly back into title reckoning.

The young Gaurav Bora then made a name for a lifetime with two stunning strikes to put the issue beyond anyone’s doubt. Both goals came off corners taken by Sandro from the right flank.

The first in the 69th minute was earned by Sandro himself who then delivered perfectly and Bora coming in on the far post unmarked connected with a crisp volley to put Chennai ahead.

Then if QEB had any hopes remaining of a dying minute Minerva equaliser, Bora put paid them in the 3rd minute of injury time when off another Sandro corner, he came in and rose to head even more crisply to bulge the back of the Minerva net.

It was a fitting attacking and professional end to a brilliant campaign ably steered by Singaporean coach Akbar Nawas and as Bhaskaran blew for full-time there scenes of emotions and joy all around the stadium.

ISL 5: Goa put Mumbai to the sword in the first leg of their semi-final

MUMBAI: Despite going a goal behind on the 20th minute, FC Goa stormed to a 5-1 victory over Mumbai City FC in the first leg of their semi-final clash at the Mumbai Football Arena on Saturday. The result means the Gaurs take a four-goal advantage into the second leg in Goa and leaves the Islanders with a mountain to climb.

The Islanders started the match with intent and denied Goa players any time on the ball, pressing them relentlessly and trying to force mistakes. Ahmed Jahouh, in particular, was singled out as multiple Mumbai players descended on the Moroccan whenever he got on possession. Mumbai also did look the more threatening of the two sides while going forward in the early stages and were creating some dangerous chances.

On the 20th minute, the Islanders finally reaped the fruits of their bright start and went on to take the lead through Rafael Bastos. Arnold Issoko went on one of his trademark runs down the right flank, checked back, and floated in a teasing cross with the outside of his boot at the far post. Bastos made sure he ghosted in past the Goa defence undetected and tapped it in past Naveen Kumar.

The goal triggered a response from the Gaurs who began showing a little more urgency. In face of Goa’s wave after wave of attacks, Mumbai’s resistance lasted for just 11 minutes. Ferran Corominas hit a low shot towards goal, forcing a quick block from Amrinder Singh. But the Mumbai custodian’s save was a tad indecisive, giving Jackichand Singh the opportunity to score the equaliser from the follow up. Interestingly, it was FC Goa’s 150th goal in the Hero ISL. No other team has scored more, with Chennaiyin FC being the second-highest scorer with 126.

The 151st would soon follow. The Mumbai defence made the grave error of letting Brandon Fernandes’ corner bounce inside the box and Mourtada Fall was at hand to capitalize. The defender buried his diving header into the net to give Goa the advantage.

The Islanders came close to finding an equaliser of their own minutes before the half-time whistle. The ball fell kindly for Modou Sougou near the six-yard box after a Paulo Machado free-kick and the striker took a stab at it. With the shot seemingly destined for the goal, Naveen instinctively stuck out a leg to deny Sougou.

Seconds later, both Naveen and Sougou were involved in another big moment of the match. The Senegalese striker took advantage of Naveen’s inability to cleanly collect Bastos’ shot and seemed to have scored the leveller in the dying seconds of the first half. The celebrations at the Mumbai Football Arena were, however, cut short as the linesman signalled for offside.

The first 45 minutes ended with the away side 2-1 up.

Shortly after the restart, things got worse for the home team. Jackichand found himself in possession down the right and hung up a teasing cross at the far post. Corominas was the quickest to react and met the cross with a diving header to make it 3-1 in Goa’s favour. It was the Spaniard’s 16th goal of the season.

The Gaurs were relentless in their quest to increase their lead even further and made it 4-1 just seven minutes later. Fall bulldozed through the Islanders defence to meet a corner and directed his header past Amrinder to score his second of the night.

Mumbai players tried their best to reduce the deficit and had a golden opportunity on the 74th minute. Lucian Goian found himself unmarked from a corner but miraculously failed to keep his header on target.

Substitute Hugo Boumous set up Brandon for Goa’s fifth with a lovely threaded through ball on the 82nd minute. The youngster found himself one-vs-one against the goalkeeper and beat Amrinder at his near post with a meticulously placed shot.

The Islanders created a couple of opportunities to pull a goal back before the full time whistle, but some good goalkeeping by Naveen made sure the scoreline was unchanged.