FC Goa became the second team to qualify for the play-offs spot in the fifth season of Indian Super League (ISL) after a convincing 3-0 victory against Kerala Blasters at Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Monday. Earlier, Bengaluru had qualified for the play-offs but now the Guars have pipped them by goal-difference to take the top spot in the points table.
Quickfire goals in the first half from Ferran Corominas (22′) and Edu Bedia (25′) and a third by Hugo Boumous (78′) helped the hosts do the double over the Kerala outfit in the season.
FC Goa were on the money right from the start as Jackichand Singh threatened the Kerala defence as he twisted and turned the likes of Lalruatthara and Anas Edathodika on a couple of occasions. One of his efforts did beat Dheeraj Singh but came off the woodwork, much to Kerala’s relief.
Kerala then found the back of the net through Slavisa Stojanovic after a quick interplay with Matej Poplatnik. However, the linesman had his flag raised after Courage Pekuson was deemed to be in an offside position.
WATCH THE HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
Goa got a deserved breakthrough midway into the first half through Ferran Corominas. Brandon Fernandes’ cross from the left was headed home with ease by the Spaniard after he was afforded a lot of space inside the box by Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan.
In the 25th minute, Edu Bedia doubled the lead by slotting the ball into an empty net. This was after Anas sent a back-pass to Dheeraj whose clearance was straight at Corominas. The Spaniard took a touch and laid the ball on a platter for Bedia who applied the finishing touch to make matters worse for the visitors.
Goa continued to see more of the ball with Kerala struggling to create any opportunity of note.
However, the first chance in the second half fell to Kerala when Sahal Samad let loose from outside the box which finally forced a save from Goa custodian Naveen Kumar. But that was about it for Kerala, with Goa exerting control.
Before the hour mark, Ahmed Jahouh sent a brilliant ball over the top for Corominas who made a bustling run and managed to get beyond Anas and Dheeraj only for a last-ditch tackle from Poplatnik to avert the danger.
Jahouh could have added his name on the score-sheet with a long-range effort which went inches wide of Dheeraj’s goal.
Goa sealed the victory in the 78th minute when the substitute Hugo Boumous dribbled past a couple of players and evaded the challenge from Jhingan to beat Dheeraj at his near post to make it 3-0.
There were late chances for Goa to increase their tally with Bedia seeing a wonderful lob over Dheeraj Singh come back off the post. However, Serio Lobera would not have been disappointed, having notched their fifth cleansheet in a row.