Iker Guarrotxena’s hat-trick and Brandon Fernandes’ free-kick goal powered FC Goa to a 4-2 victory over East Bengal FC in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa on Thursday.
Guarrotxena was the hero for the Gaurs’ sixth home win of the season and second in a row as the Spaniard scored what is now the third-fastest hat-trick in the league’s history to put the game to bed early in the first half. His first goal came in the 11th minute, when he pounced on a loose ball in the box and found the target, after Devendra Murgaoar’s pass to Noah Sadaoui was intercepted by an East Bengal defender.
He found the back of the net once again in the 21st minute. Sadaoui’s pin-pointed cross from the left found the Spaniard, whose headed attempt deceived the goalkeeper as it bounced off the far post and into the net.
Two minutes later, the 30-year-old had his hat-trick. A corner-kick by Edu Bedia was headed by Fares Arnaout into Sanson Pereira’s path and the latter played it forward, only for Guarrotxena to lob it into the goal past the keeper despite being pulled back.
FC Goa continued their dominance in the second half and their fourth goal came in the 53rd minute, when Brandon Fernandes curled a free-kick from just outside the opposition box, into the top right corner of the net.
Despite the four-goal deficit, East Bengal showed great resolve to continue fighting, and were rewarded with back-to-back goals in the 59th and 66th minute through VP Suhair and Sarthak Golui, respectively. The sudden shift in momentum, however, served as a wake-up call of sorts for the Gaurs who went on to dictate the latter stages of the game.
The rest of the game remained goalless, but FC Goa had done enough by then to register their eighth win of the season. The victory also puts them in third place on the league standings, with 26 points from 16 matches.
FC Goa U17 promoted to GFA 2nd Division as Champions
In other news, the FC Goa U17 side secured a promotion to the GFA Second Division League, in their first-ever season since inception. The Young Gaurs thrashed FC Tuem 5-0 in the GFA Third Division League Final (Bardez Zone) on Wednesday to emerge champions and to secure a birth in the next tier.
Likson Rebelo opened the scoring for the Boys in Orange in the 19th minute, but it was Saish Gaonkar who stole the show in the final. The youngster scored his first in the second minute of injury time in the first half, before adding three more to his tally in the 69th, 79th and 87th minute.
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