In what was only their second home defeat of the ongoing 2022-23 season, FC Goa went down 3-1 to Hyderabad FC at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday. Bartholomew Ogbeche scored a hat-trick to ensure the win for the Nizams, while Redeem Tlang netted the Gaurs’ consolation strike.
The victory also places Manolo Marquez’s men at the top of the standings while FC Goa remain in fifth place.
Earlier in the day, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena made four changes to his starting XI as Noah Sadaoui, Fares Arnaout, Sanson Pereira and Ayush Chhetri replaced Alvaro Vazquez, Marc Valiente, Seriton Fernandes and Glan Martins respectively.
The change seemed to have worked as early as in the fifth minute itself, when Aibanbha Dohling sent a lovely ball into Sadaoui’s path in the opposition box. A last-gasp defensive clearance by Nikhil Poojary, however, neutralized the threat for Hyderabad.
Aiban and Noah combined for another attempt a few minutes later as well, but this time, the Moroccan international headed wide off the full-back’s cross from the right.
In the 20th minute, Hyderabad FC scored against the run of play. A foul throw from FC Goa resulted in the Nizams restarting play, and the ball eventually ended up with ex-Gaur Halicharan Narzary who picked out Bartholomew Ogbeche in the box with the perfect lobbed pass.
The Nigerian, in turn, headed home to give his team a much-needed lead.
The remainder of the first half saw the Gaurs’ create several chances to try and restore parity on the scoresheet, but a lack of ideas in the final third hampered their progress.
Pena’s boys finally got their equaliser following the change of ends, in the 54th minute. The ball was played forward into the path of Noah, who held it well and eventually crossed to Redeem Tlang who found the back of the net from close range.
The goal helped the hosts step up in terms of attack as they got close to scoring another couple of times in the next ten minutes. The introduction of Alvaro Vazquez and Makan Chothe added more firepower to their frontline, as they worked hard for the winner.
It was Hyderabad, however, who scored once again in the 79th minute. The ball, which was played into the Goa box was palmed away initially by Dheeraj Singh, but when Ogbeche pounced on it to pull the trigger on the rebound, he could not prevent it from going in.
Finally, the 38-year-old completed his tally for the day in the 90th minute, rounding off the Nizams’ win with a fine header into the far post. This was also his fourth hat-trick in the ISL.
Following the defeat, FC Goa now have 19 points from 13 matches. Up next for them is an away clash against NorthEast United, at Guwahati on January 15.
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