FC Goa reclaimed the top spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 points table by subjecting Kerala Blasters FC to a 1-0 defeat at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa on December 3, Sunday.
An unlikely hero, midfielder Rowllin Borges, scored his first goal of the season in added time of the first half to seal the victory for FC Goa. Borges’ goal came from a free-kick delivered by Victor Rodriguez, who has been a key creative force for the Gaurs this season.
Kerala Blasters had the majority of possession and took more shots, but its finishing was lacking, allowing FC Goa to hold onto its lead. Despite numerous chances to score, the visitors’ efforts were thwarted by poor finishing.
Kerala Blasters had the first clear-cut chance of the game in the seventh minute when Jay Gupta’s error in a dangerous position allowed Danish Farooq to play a through ball for Peprah, who just missed the target.
FC Goa responded well to Kerala’s early pressure, creating opportunities to score itself. In the 13th minute, Victor’s shot on target was blocked by Hormipam Ruivah’s brilliant header.
FC Goa continued to threaten, and in the 38th minute, it had a golden opportunity to take the lead when Sandesh Jhingan blasted a shot over the target from a set piece.
Kerala Blasters came out fighting in the second half, creating several chances to equalize. In the 58th minute, Mohammed Aimen’s venomous strike from outside of the box was parried away by Arshdeep.
Kerala Blasters continued to press for an equaliser, but FC Goa’s defence stood firm. In the 73rd minute, Noah was clear through on goal, but goalkeeper Sachin Suresh came out rushing and cleared the ball with a clean sliding tackle outside the box.
In the end, FC Goa held onto its first-half lead to secure all three points and go to the top of the ISL table.
The defeat was a setback for Kerala Blasters, who had been in good form recently. However, it remains in second place in the table, just two points behind FC Goa.
FC Goa’s victory was a testament to its fighting spirit and determination. The Gaurs have now won five of its last six games, and it will be looking to continue its winning streak when it faces Jamshedpur FC next week.
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