FC Goa advanced to the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup after putting Jamshedpur FC to the sword in a dominant display, beating them 5-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Brandon Fernandes opened the scoring in the 34th minute, finishing off a superb team move. A half-time controversy saw both teams being reduced to 8 men with three players on both sides being sent off. Anas Edathodika, Kervens Belfort and Subrata Pal were sent off for the men of steel while the Gaurs had to do without Brandon Fernandes, Bruno Pinheiro and Sergio Juste for the second half.
This didn’t deter the Gaurs though, and they pushed forward relentlessly through Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous. Coro scored the second goal from the penalty spot soon after half-time. With Steve Coppell’s men attempting to get back in the game, the Gaurs exploited vast expanses of open space and scored twice in quick succession through substitute Manvir Singh and Hugo who added the fifth close to the 90th minute mark. Ashim Biswas took advantage of some tired legs to net a late consolation for Jamshedpur.
It was a fantastic start for the Gaurs who could easily have found themselves up by at least a couple of goals in the opening exchanges. Brandon Fernandes tricked his way into the box in the 2nd minute but couldn’t find a teammate with his cut back.
A couple of minutes later, some fantastic interplay between Pronay Halder and Hugo Boumous saw the former lob a peach of a pass towards Edu Bedia in the box but the Spaniard was unable to direct his header past Subrata Pal. The clearest chance however, fell to Mandar Rao Dessai in the 8th minute when he evaded the challenge of two defenders but couldn’t beat Pal who made a superb save to deny the Goan from close quarters.
Kervens Belfort nearly caused the Gaurs a major setback in the 10th minute when he raced on to the end of a through pass and powered his way into the box before attempting to lob the onrushing Kattimani who reacted well to make the save. At the other end, Edu stepped up to curl a free-kick at the near post which forced Pal to dive full length to parry the ball.
After the initial burst in the heat of Bhubaneswar, both teams began to settle down although the Gaurs continued to keep hold of the ball. The men of steel looked to break up the opposition attack and counter-attack menacingly through Belfort. The Haitian striker was beginning to cause the Gaurs’ defence a few problems but Bruno Pinheiro and Sergio Juste stood firm at centre half.
After dominating Jamshedpur for most of the half, the Gaurs finally took the lead in the 34th minute. A superb move ended with Brandon netting his second goal of the tournament.
The Gaurs held on to the ball superbly and strung a number of passes around all over the pitch before Hugo released the Goan with a neat through ball. The winger showed incredible pace to beat and evade the challenge of Robin Gurung to poke the ball past Pal expertly from a few yards out.
Derrick Pereira’s men didn’t sit back after taking the lead as they pressed for a quick second. Brandon was linking up well with Hugo and Edu and causing Andre Bikey and co immense trouble. The Gaurs should have doubled their lead in stoppage time after excellent work from Brandon who played the ball across the box, laying it on a platter for Ferran Corominas who somehow missed the opportunity to put the ball through an empty net from two yards out.
Brandon did get on to the end of the mishit and smashed the ball into the roof of the net but the referee disallowed the goal much to the disappointment of the Goans amidst a cloud of controversy as the Gaurs went into half-time with a slender lead.
Both teams came out severely depleted in the second period after a scuffle in the tunnel following the first half. Subrata, Anas Edathodika and Belfort were shows red cards for the men of steel while Brandon, Sergio Juste and Bruno were sent off for the Gaurs.
The ball was being played around in midfield with proper attacking play hard to come by. The Gaurs’ claims for a penalty were waved away in the 55th minute after Hugo was clearly held back by Bikey after he got the better of the defender and ran at the goalkeeper. The referee however, called for play to continue. Hugo and Coro were the only two players playing up for the Goans who looked to use this outlet in a bid to double their lead.
Edu could have doubled the side’s lead on the 60th minute mark when he got on to the end of a loose ball outside the box and curled a left footed effort at towards the near post which beat the goalkeeper and clipped the inside of the post and deflected back into play.
Seritono Fernandes then had the chance to score his first goal of the season after he made a superb run and was played through by Coro but his mishit was cleared easily. A few seconds later, Coro had two efforts at goal but was denied on both occasions. Steve Coppell’s men were living on the edge but hung on to keep the deficit down to only one.
That, however, changed in the 69th minute after Coro was brought down carelessly by Memo in the box. The Spaniard stepped up and drove the ball into the net, despite the goalkeeper diving the right way to give the Gaurs a two goal advantage. Two could have been three moments later after Mandar chipped the ball into the net but the referee called him offside.
With Jamshedpur struggling to cope, the Gaurs added to their misery by continuously applying pressure on the defence. Hugo had a golden chance to triple the lead when Mandar found him with a peach of a ball. The Moroccan man cut a defender, had only the goalkeeper to beat but somehow missed with the goal at his mercy.
With the men of steel having a mountain to climb, the Gaurs sensed the opportunity to add to their tally and took these opportunities to perfection. In the 77th minute, Seriton charged forward to get on to the end of a long ball. With open space in front of him, the Goan full back charged forward and set up substitute Manvir Singh who ran into the box, trapped the ball well and finished it beautifully.
A minute later, Hugo’s sensational solo run and shot ensured that the Gaurs go top of the charts as the highest scoring team in this competition as well with their fourth of the match. Hugo however, was not done for the evening.
He managed to score his second of the game after superb work from Edu who got into the box and squared for the Moroccan to tap into an empty net. At the other end, tired legs showed as Ashim Biswas was played through and he managed to sneak the ball past substitute Bruno Colaco to prevent the Gaurs from keeping a clean sheet.
FC Goa progress to the semi-finals of the Hero Super Cup by virtue of their win and will face off against Kingfisher East Bengal. The Gaurs will be severely depleted in terms of personnel as Brandon, Juste and Bruno will be absent due to their respective red cards while Hero of the match against Jamshedpur, Hugo Boumous will also miss the contest due to yellow cards in consecutive games.
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