Entering the stage in the second half, Spanish forward Airam Cabrera produced a hat-trick as FC Goa forced Kerala Blasters to a 4-4 draw in the Indian Super League in Fatorda on Sunday night.
Argentine Pereyra Diaz gave the Blasters, already assured of a semifinal berth on Saturday night after Mumbai City's 1-2 loss against Hyderabad FC, a two-goal lead in the first half but Ivan Vukomanovic's boys let the advantage slip through their fingers.
AS IT HAPPENED |
The Blasters, which kept stars Adrian Luna and Alvaro Vazquez on the bench for a major part of the match, appeared to be heading to an easy victory but Goa's three half-time changes changed everything.
All four Goan goals came from two of these three substitutes with Aiban Dohling scoring the other goal in the 79th minute to give the side a 4-2 lead at that point.
But with Luna coming in shortly after the hour-mark and Vazquez making his entry in the 81st minute and finding the net 10 minutes later, the Blasters were able to recover and grab a draw.
It was a very different scene in the opening half when the Blasters appeared to be all over Goa with young and hard-working midfielder Sahal Samad and Bhutanese forward Chencho Gyeltshen sparkling.
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Sahal had a big hand in the Blasters' opening goal as he stole the ball from a defender and sent a beautiful cross from the right which Pereyra pushed home with a sliding shot in the 10th minute.
Pereyra doubled the lead through a penalty 15 minutes later, as Chencho Gyeltshen was brought down inside the box by the Goa goalkeeper Hrithik Tiwari.
But Goa returned with new plans in the second half which was studded with six goals, all scored by substitutes.
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