Goa extends unbeaten streak to 4 matches denting Bengaluru’s playoff hopes with a 2-1 win

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Goa climbed to the third place with this win

In the last fixture of Matchday 19 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season, Goa defeated Bengaluru by a 2-1 margin at the Fatorda Stadium. Odei Onaindia and Boris Singh Thangjam were on the scoresheet for the Gaurs while Shivaldo Singh was the lone goal-scorer for the Blues.

Goa head coach Manolo Marquez made three changes to his team after a 3-3 draw against Punjab. Rowllin Borges, Boris, and Carlos Martinez were handed starts with Raynier Fernandes, Udanta Singh, and Borja Herrera making way for them respectively.

On the other hand, Bengaluru head coach Gerard Zaragoza made only one change to the team that defeated Kerala Blasters 1-0. With Goa having a potent attacking line-up, the Spanish tactician went a bit defensive by playing Shivaldo in place of Sivasakthi Narayanan.

The game had an electrifying start as Bengaluru scored the opening goal in just the 2nd minute. Shivaldo made a cunning run between Narayan Das and Odei and Suresh Singh Wangjam found his teammate with a delightful long ball. Shivaldo then launched a shot that struck the arm of Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem but still ended up rolling into the back of the net.

Goa had two consecutive chances just three minutes later. Firstly, Narayan darted down the left flank before finding Boris with a cross, whose attempt was saved by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu under the Bengaluru goal. Only a few seconds later, Boris found Noah Sadaoui with a cross from the right flank, but the Moroccan’s effort was cleared away by Slavko Damjanovic off the goal line.

The game ebbed and flowed as Bengaluru got the next chance in the 6th minute. Yet another long ball, this time played by Roshan Naorem Singh, found Shivaldo completely unmarked, but the teenager blasted his shot high. In the 18th minute, Sadaoui attempted the spectacular from a tight angle but could only find the side netting.

But the constant pressure paid off as Goa got their equalizer in the 22nd minute. Brandon Fernandes whipped in a dangerous cross from a corner which was headed out by Roshan, but only till Boris. The winger did well to control the landing and got a powerful connection on his volley, which first struck Shivaldo and then Odei before finding the back of the net.

The second phase of the first half did not produce any clear-cut openings, although both teams had half-chances. Roshan went for glory in the 39th minute while Sadaoui tried his luck from distance in additional time, but neither could keep their shots on target.

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Bengaluru midfielder Suresh Singh Wangjam was given marching orders

Bengaluru faced a massive setback at the start of the second half as Suresh was handed marching orders in the 47th minute, Boris clattered into Suresh’s feet after being tackled by the midfielder while Suresh ended up kicking the Manipuri winger in an attempt to set free.

Goa nearly capitalized on numerical supremacy in just five minutes. In the 52nd minute, Brandon launched a cross for Martinez, whose first header was blocked by Aleksandar Jovanovic. But the rebound once again fell for the Spaniard, whose second attempt was brilliantly saved by Gurpreet.

In the 57th minute, Sadaoui found himself in space down the left flank after receiving a pass from Borges, but his shot was not on target again. Having scored a stunning long-ranger against NorthEast United while playing for East Bengal earlier in the season, Herrera went for something similar in the 71st minute but his attempt went a bit wide.

But the second goal finally arrived in the 81st minute. Substitute Jay Gupta threaded a superb through ball for Herrera between the legs of Rohit Kumar, before the Spanish attacker found Boris at the opposite flank with a precise pass. Having already beaten his marker Jessel Carneiro with space, Boris had the simplest of tasks of putting the ball into a gaping net.

That goal pretty much sealed all three points for the Gaurs, although they did have a few chances in the dying stages of the game. In the 89th minute, Herrera played a pass for Gupta who then attempted a long-range spectacular, although his shot was aimed straight at Gurpreet.

Gupta had another attempt in the 97th minute, but this time the ball went a few rows back in the stadium. Bengaluru’s chance of drawing level came in the last action of the match when Roshan delivered an in-swinging corner for Damjanovic, but the Montenegrin central defender’s header went high.

With this win, Goa climbed above Odisha to take third place in the standings with 36 points in 19 matches. They will now take on Hyderabad on 5th April after a 3-week break while Bengaluru is in 8th with 21 points in 19 matches and will face Odisha on 30th March in the first match after the international break.