Spirited Goa outplay Delhi

The home side, cheered on by a vociferous crowd at the Fatorda Stadium, displayed better teamwork to quash Delhi’s spirited challenge in Margao. With his side down 2-0, Delhi manager-cum-player Roberto Carlos brought himself in after the restart, but could not effect a turnaround.

Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa battle for the possesion during their match on Sunday.   -  PTI

A cohesive FC Goa unit took out Delhi Dynamos 2-0 in their opening Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here on Sunday. The home side, cheered by a vociferous crowd at the Fatorda Stadium, displayed better teamwork to quash Delhi’s spirited challenge. FC Goa could not have asked for a better start, with the side finding the net in just the third minute. The goal had a distinct local flavour, with Goan footballers Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai combining to good effect.

Romeo, a menace on the wings, got past Delhi centre-back John Arne Riise with deft ball-control. With the path clear, Romeo crossed to Dessai, who took a shot from close range. An unfortunate deflection off Delhi defender Souvik Chakraborty gave Goa the lead. For former Liverpool star Riise his first piece of action on India shores was a forgettable one.

Ten minutes later, FC Goa nearly got a second when Brazilian Leonardo da Silva Moura's left-footed strike hit the post. Shaken by the early proceedings, Dynamos began to get their act together. Marquee player Florent Malouda and Hans Mulder called the shots from the midfield. Their effort almost paid off when Richard Gadze got through but he could not convert.

Romeo revels

Romeo, meanwhile, continued to wreck havoc on the flank, putting the defenders in a tight spot. At the stroke of half-time, a foul was committed just outside the Dynamos box, allowing Joffre Mateu Gonzalez to step up. A vicious left-footed strike flew towards the goal from an acute angle, and an outstretched leg from Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliviera was enough to guide the ball onto the target.

With his side down 2-0, Delhi manager-cum-player Roberto Carlos brought himself in after the restart. The decorated Brazilian surprised many by replacing the effective Mulder, and took on the role of a defensive midfielder. Carlos still retains the speed that once instilled fear in his rivals, but there weren't many attacking chances for him.

Riise, too, turned back the clock with an electric foray, when he took the ball across the length of the field. A curler off his left foot bounced off the post, and Goa escaped unscathed.

Just before full-time, the crowd witnessed a trademark Carlos moment. A spot-kick was conceded by FC Goa a few yards outside its box, and Carlos tickled the spectators' imagination by measuring his run-up. Though he struck fiercely the goalkeeper had little trouble in making the stop.

When the final whistle blew, the spectators left the venue thankful not only for a positive result, but also for a few moments which evoked a fair dose of nostalgia.

The result: FC Goa 2 (Souvik Chakraborty-OG 3, Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliviera 45) bt Delhi Dynamos 0.