Goa scores four goals past Mohun Bagan Super Giant to stay on top

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Goa extended their lead at the top of the table

Goa further extended their lead at the top of the table by pipping Mohun Bagan Super Giant 4-1 at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata in the fifth match of Matchweek 11 of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season. 

A Noah Sadaoui brace and strikes from Victor Rodriguez and Carlos Martinez comprised the Gaurs’ four goals, while Dimitri Petratos was the lone goal-scorer for the Mariners.

Considering three of his players were red-carded in the last match against Mumbai City, Mohun Bagan Super Giant head coach Juan Ferrando was forced to make wholesale changes to his starting XI. Sumit Rathi, Glan Martins, Petratos and Armando Sadiku were handed starts, with Asish Rai, Hector Yuste, Hugo Boumous, and Liston Colaco making way for them.

On the other hand, Goa coach Manolo Marquez Roca made a single change to his team that drew 0-0 against Mumbai City. Skipper Brandon Fernandes returned to the fold with Boris Singh making way for him in the starting XI.

As many had expected, Goa had the better start to the game and got their first opportunity in the 8th minute. A free-kick delivered from the left flank somehow made its way to central defender Odei Onaindia at the far post, who struck a powerful shot. His attempt could have troubled Vishal Kaith, but Manvir Singh blocked it by raising his arm, giving Goa a penalty. 

From the spot, Sadaoui showed nerves of steel by slotting his shot past Kaith, despite the Mohun Bagan Super Giant goalkeeper diving the right way.

All that the Mariners had early on were ambitious half-chances, like the one in the 15th minute when Petratos tried one of his vicious long-range efforts but to no avail. Goa could easily have scored their second goal in the 34th minute when a pass from Rodriguez found Sadaoui in space but his shot was narrowly wide.

The Gaurs had another superb chance in the 40th minute when Brandon darted down the left flank before putting in an inch-perfect cross for Carl McHugh but the former Mariner could not keep his attempt on target.

Those misses did not ultimately matter, as the second goal arrived in the 42nd minute, and in an amazing fashion. Finding himself in space down the right flank this time, Brandon fizzed in a ball for Rodriguez, who chested it down towards McHugh’s path. 

The Irish midfielder then delightfully flicked it back for the Spaniard who had only Kaith to beat after bamboozling his marker Anirudh Thapa. The former Elche player made no mistake in finding the back of the net.

The Mariners were shown no mercy in this game as the Gaurs struck for a third time in the third minute of additional time. Another brilliant pass from Brandon found Sadaoui in space down the left flank. The Moroccan first beat Tangri for pace before cutting inside, which was followed by a calmly slotted shot past the reach of Kaith.

But while everything was going against their favor, Petratos tried getting the crowd on their feet again as he reduced the deficit at the very end of the half. From a free-kick earned by Sadiku, the Australian launched a powerful shot which grazed past the fingers of Arshdeep Singh, into the net.

Goa had the better start in the second half and nearly restored the three-goal cushion in the 51st minute when yet another defense-splitting ball for Brandon found Sadaoui through on goal with only Kaith to beat. However, Sadaoui could not complete his hat-trick as while his first attempt was saved, his second acrobatic try went into the sky.

Sadaoui proved why he has represented his nation four times, as he caused the Mariners all sorts of nightmares in this game. In the 62nd minute, he managed to slice open the hosts’ defense again, but Kaith managed to rescue his time for the second consecutive time.

Just three minutes later, Brandon decided it was his turn to try and get his name on the scoresheet. Receiving a pass from substitute Paulo Retre, the Indian attacker launched a powerful shot but narrowly missed the target.

Noah Sadaoui had a field day against the Mohun Bagan Super Giant players

The next few minutes saw the Mohun Bagan Super Giant attackers growing frustrated and trying their luck as both Petratos and Boumous tried long-range efforts but no one could even come close to scoring the Mariners’ second goal.

Instead, Goa could easily have scored their fourth goal if they were more clinical. Retre dragged his chance wide in the 79th minute, while just two minutes later, he played a good ball for Sadaoui down the left flank. The latter did well to go beyond his marker Kiyan Nassiri, but a timely stop from Kaith saved Mohun Bagan Super Giant from further embarrassment.

The Mariners decided to gift the Gaurs another last opportunity in the 90th minute as Thapa was caught napping inside the box after intercepting a pass from Saviour Gama. Taking advantage, Gama managed to snatch the ball from his feet again and was tackled inside the box. Martinez took the penalty this time and he was as accurate as Sadaoui. 

As a consolation effort, Petratos tried scoring from another free-kick in the dying stages of the match, but this time, his shot went high and wide.

With this win, Goa remains at the top of the table with 23 points in 9 matches. The Gaurs will now face NorthEast United on Friday while Mohun Bagan Super Giant is fourth in the league standings with 19 points in 9 games and will be up against Kerala Blasters on Wednesday.