ISL 3: Kerala come from behind to register a 2-1 victory over FC Goa away from home

FC Goa 1-2 Kerala blasters

FC Goa threw away a 1-0 lead to go down 1-2 to fighting Kerala Blasters who won their first away game in two seasons on Monday at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.

FC Goa 1-2 Kerala blasters

Julio Cesar 24th minute strike had put Zico’s team to lead in the first half, but a quick second half strike by Mohammed Rafi leveled the scores before Belfort, who has been brilliant throughout the night, scored late to cap off a superb comeback and the first of this season as Kerala registered their first away win of the season.

Both the teams fielded the same line up that played the last game. FC Goa marquee signing Lucio started on bench, Raju Gaikwad, Gregory Arnolin and Rafael Dumas started at defence with Keenan Almeida and Richarlyson operating as wing-backs. Pratesh Shirodkar played alongside Trindade Goncalves while Jofre Mateu, Julio Cesar and Robin Singh shared attacking responsibilities.

For Kerala Blasters, the duo of Cedric Hengbart and Aaron Hughes started at the defense with Sandesh Jhingan and Josu Currias operating as full-backs. Mehtab Hossain and the impressive Azrack Mahamat started at midfield while Mohammed Rafique, Kervens Belfort, Michael Chopra and Mohammed Rafi started in attack.

The game began with the blasters looking to dominant play with the first shot coming from Belfort, after an impressive run from half way line. The striker dribbled past three goan players before taking a shot which went straight at the ends of Keeper Subhasish Roy Choudhary, who had stationed himself well in front of goal post.

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Goa began to start stitching moves slowly and their hard work paid off in the 24th minute, when Richarlyson’s cross found the impressive Julio Cesar, who headed the ball past diving Sandip Nandy as Goa took the lead.  Kerala were denied an equalizer by Goan keeper in the 35th minute, when a free kick from Mehtab Hossian for Kerala resulted in Sandesh Jhingan’s heading the ball which was goal bound before being deflected away by the Goan Custodian.

Few Minutes later kerala was denied an penalty appeal when chopra was brought down inside the box but the referee ignored the plea as play went on. The first half ended in Goa heading in to tunnel with a one goal lead in hand.

At half time, Zico replaced Jofre with Lucio which was explained later as the necessary one after the former had encountered some niggle. Second half started with a bang, as kerala equalized within 20 seconds, when Rafique with the ball on the left sent in a dangerous cross for Rafi to tap it in as the goan defence failed to clear the ball.

In the 62nd minute, Goa almost went ahead when the ever impressive Julio Cesar’s free kick tested Sandip Nandy from around 25 yards but the latter denied Goa the opportunity. Blasters too missed an opportunity to take the lead after chopra who was at the end of a free kick was unable to strike the ball past the Goan keeper.

In the 83rd minute, Goa almost scored an own goal when Gregory tried to head the ball to his own keeper but the ball almost went in with the woodwork coming to rescue. However goa went behind in the very next minute from Belfort brilliance as the Haitian ran into Goan defence before unleashing a powerful strike from around 25 yards to beat subhasish as Kerala took the deserved lead.

Goa tried to get an equalizer in the dying moments of game but could not beat the resolute defending of the visitors as Blasters picked up their first away victory of the season.

FC Goa 1 (Cesar 24’) – 2 Kerala Blasters FC (Rafi 46’, Belfort 83’)

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