FC Goa moves to top of the HERO ISL standings

Kerala Blasters suffered their third defeat in five games as they failed to defend their lead against the host, FC Goa at Fatorda Stadium. The Gaurs came back from 1-0 down to win the match 2-1 as Leo Moura and Gregory Arnolin’s goals in either half completed a massive turnover for the host in the HERO Indian Super League 2015.

The host had two changes in their side as Colaco and Halder were brought in for Keegan and Mandar Rao Dessai.

The Blasters made as many as five changes to their starting eleven that lost to Delhi Dynamos, as Carlos Marchena, Victor Pulga, CK Vineeth, Manandeep Singh and Christopher Dagnall were benched for Bruno Perone, Joao Coimbra, Mehtab Hussain, Mohammad Rafi and Sanchez Watt respectively.

For the most part of the first half, the game was well-contested. Ball possession changed sides frequently with plenty of intercepts and run-ins going around.

On 7th minutes, Kerala Blaster’s Sandesh Jhingan almost headed in as his effort was just off the target. Although the deadlock was broken by Kerala itself in the 24th minute. Mohammed Rafi spotted a Rahul Bheke cross that came right into the FC Goa box, and he made no mistake heading it home.

The forward line of Darryl Duffy and Reinaldo remained isolated for major part of the first half, hence manufacturing attacks looked harder than usual.

Kerala Blasters had another opportunity to increase their lead on 40th minutes when Cavin Lobo’s fantastic free kick was just tipped over by Kattimani.

The Gaurs finally got their breakthrough on the brink of first-half to put FC Goa on level terms. The Brazilian attacker spotted a ball deflected by Kerala Blasters goalkeeper Stephen Bywater and perfectly placed it to the top-left corner of the Kerala goal.

The second half saw the same style of well-contested football. Possession, however, was dominated by Kerala in the initial phase of the second half. The home supporters cranked up the noise level with the arrival of local boys Mandar Rao Dessai and Romeo Fernandes as substitutions in the 61st minute.

A hush followed, when in the 64th minute, from a corner, Kerala Blasters came close to scoring their second from a Sanchez Watt blast at first, and then two consecutive efforts by Bruno Perone.

With just six minutes left, the host completed an astonishing comeback in front of 19000 home fans as Gregory Arnolin’s towering header put FC Goa ahead, from a Mandar Rao Desai corner. Noise levels of the Fatorda faithful reached a different level as Goa led 2-1 and on their way to the top of the Indian Super League table.

Goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani stood tall towards the end and stopped CK Vineeth’s volley to keep Kerala at bay.

This was the second time in the League that the Gaurs had come from behind to win the match. The match also saw India national team defender Narayan Das come back from national duty and play his first Hero ISL match of Season 2015 for FC Goa.

For his fantastic performance, FC Goa’s Leo Moura was awarded with “HERO Player of the Match” award.





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