FC Goa's Brandon Fernandes finds Super Cup redemption

Brandon Fernandes was shown a red card for his troubles in the quarterfinal against Jamshedpur.

Brandon Fernandes has added goals to his game, while his quick feet and blistering change of pace make him a menace for opposition defences.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

A little less than a year ago, FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC squared off in the quarterfinals of the inaugural Super Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium, a match in which tempers flared. In the first half, Goa’s Brandon Fernandes had failed to keep the ball from going behind for a corner kick before he slotted the ball into the back of the net.

The goal, which was later over-ruled with the help of a video referral, sparked tension among both sets of players, resulting in six players being sent off at the half-time break.

Brandon was among the players who were shown a red card, which forced him to miss Goa’s semifinal against East Bengal. An injury-plagued Goa team lost 1-0 and finished the season empty-handed.

On Saturday, when the two Indian Super League teams met in a rematch at the same stage of the competition, the 24-year-old redeemed himself with a pair of assists, as Goa won 4-3.

Read: Goa challenge for Chennai City in semifinals

In the two years since Goa picked him up in the draft for Rs. 27.5 lakh, Brandon has become one of the most feared wingers in Indian football. His dribbling and blistering change of pace make him a nightmare to defend against as Jamshedpur’s Karan Amin found out in the first half.

The right-back had to be taken off from the firing line at the start of the second half. “We brought in Robin (Gurang) because physically he is stronger than Karan. Brandon was hurting us over there,” explained Jamshedpur’s assistant coach Guillermo Fernandez.

Under Spanish coach Sergio Lobera, Brandon is afforded the platform, alongside other technically-sound ball players in Ferran Corominas, Edu Bedia, Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous, to maximise his skill set and potential.

On his return from the ban at the start of the ISL season, Brandon has added goals to his game. He struck thrice alongside his four assists in the season gone by. His deliveries from set-plays is another feature that adds potency to Goa as he demonstrated against Jamshedpur and Indian Arrows earlier in the tournament.

On Brandon’s growth, Lobera said, “I think Brandon's individual qualities have improved with the performance of the team. He is a great player who is improving day-by-day. I think he deserves to be in the national team. He helps us a lot with his quality.”

  Dugout videos