Goa: FC Goa romped to a stunning 4-1 victory over FC Bardez Goa at the Duler Football Stadium in Mapusa after a brilliant second half performance to notch up their first three points of the season. Aaren D’Silva was on target, scoring a brace either side of half-time. The home side equalized in the first half but the Gaurs pulled away in the second half to send the game beyond the reach of FC Bardez. Liston Colaco scored the third goal from a superb counter-attacking move while Saviour Gama smashed home a loose ball late on to seal victory.
It was a cagey beginning to the game with both sides looking to hold on to the ball. It was the home side, however, who looked the more comfortable of the two as they passed the ball around keeping the Gaurs’ midfield away from the ball. FC Goa were finding it hard to win back possession. Bardez however, were not able to create too many chances despite having the bulk of the possession. Leander D’Cunha was the first player to go into the book for a handball in the 13th minute. Ten minutes later, Yasir Mohammed had a penalty claim waved off after he was brought down in the area. The game sprung to life after the 30th minute however, with both teams creating a wave of chances.
The Gaurs finally went ahead in the 35th minute after superb work down the right. Liston Colaco took down a beautifully weighted long ball on the right and charged down the right wing, beating two defenders before swinging in a superb low cross to the far post which striker Aaren poked home. It didn’t take long for FC Bardez to hit back though. An error from the FC Goa defence awarded the home side a corner which the Gaurs weren’t able to clear. Leander handled the ball in his attempt to clear it and the referee promptly pointed to the spot. The Bardez striker stepped up and smashed the ball down the middle to leave Iprotip Das with no chance.
Leander who was having an eventful game should have had the Gaurs ahead on the 40th minute mark after a good counter attack. Jason Barbosa received the ball down the left and put in a good cross to the middle of the box with Leander running in towards goal. The midfielder however, skewed his shot past the far post. Three minutes later, Aaren was presented with another chance after Yasir hit an inswinger from the right towards the far post. The lanky striker got on to the end of the cross but was unable to direct his header goalwards. FC Bardez had the ball in the back of the net in stoppage time but the goal was ruled out for offside. The referee called time on the half not long after.
It was the best possible start for the Gaurs in the second half as they found themselves a goal to the good almost immediately after kick off. The ball is played to Liston on the left wing who makes some space and hits a curling effort towards the far post. The opposition goal-keeper, in his attempt to collect the ball, fumbles and presents Aaren with a golden opportunity to increase his side’s lead which he did with ease. Not even a minute later, the Gaurs found themselves two goals to the good. Yasir collected the ball in the middle of the park and raced past the defence to square for Liston who was lurking in the penalty spot. The Gaurs’ skipper wasted no time in placing the ball to the far post with his left foot to double the lead. The home side had the chance to pull a goal back soon after but the left winger wasn’t able to get his shot on target from the left wing. Iprotip Das then stepped up his game and made a huge save to deny the home side a goal minutes later.
The Gaurs continued to pile on the pressure as the half progressed in a bid to score more goals. They should have been ahead mid-way through the half after Liston was sent clear by Yasir but he hit a tame shot at the keeper. Hayden Fernandes came on for Leander who was booked in the first half in a tactical change. In the 73rd minute, Aaren almost bagged his hat-trick after Yasir launched an audacious long ball forward. The striker ran on to the ball, beat the defence and controlled the ball superbly before sending a lobbed shot over the onrushing keeper. Unfortunately, the ball crept inches wide of the post.
As Bardez looked for a way back into the game, the Gaurs played on the counter and repeatedly breached the home side’s defence but weren’t able to convert. Their persistence however, was rewarded in the 85th minute when Liston was brought down as he was heading goalwards just on the edge of the box. The Goan winger promptly stepped up and sent a curling free kick goalwards. The goalkeeper made a good save to deny him but parried the ball into the path of Saviour Gama who followed the ball and smashed it into the roof of the net. With time ticking down quickly, the Gaurs were able to hold on to their lead and complete an impressive victory.