MINOO FERNANDES | NT
MARGAO: FC Goa forced their way into the finals of the 2nd edition of the Indian Super League after a goal each from Spanish playmaker Joffre Gonzalez, Brazilian striker Rafael Coelho and Nigerian striker Omagbemi Dudu helped them defuse Delhi Dynamos 3-0 in the second leg of semifinals at Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Tuesday evening.
Having conceded a 0-1 defeat to Delhi Dynamos in the first leg away semis and needing at least a 2-0 win in the second leg semis to make the summit clash, Zico’s Gaurs supported strongly by the vociferous home crowd did that in style as their thumping 3-0 win enabled them outclass Robert Carlos’ lions by an aggregate of 3-1.
Playing an attacking game throughout the 100 minutes of play (including the 5 minutes add-on time in both sessions), FC Goa scored in the 11th, 27th and 84th minute of play through Joffre, Rafael and Dudu respectively to silence the visitors who took the field with confidence to boost 1-0 win in Delhi. But that advantage was neutralised when FC Goa played with all their hearts out as never before to live true to the huge expectations of the capacity crowd at the Nehru Stadium.
FC Goa created big gaps in the Delhi Dynamos defence right from the kick-off and the porous defence of the visitors began to crack under pressure that began as early as the 11th minute. Earlier, Mandar Rao’s cross went abbeging in the very 1st minute and then Joffre who had a great role to play laid an excellent pass in the 7th minute only to see Rafael dart the ball move out of play. These two early moves were an indication of the onslaught of raids that FC Goa brought thereafter which paid rich dividends when goals came in favour of the team to take them into the finals in great style.
The goal that provided FC Goa the lead was a super effort from Joffre who on receiving a long through ball from Leo Maura dribbled three rival defenders and then sent a scorching left footed grounder to beat Spanish goalkeeper Antonia Doblas Santana.
Their second goal came in a similar fashion when speedy Mandar Rao Dessai sent excellent pass to Maura who in turn fed Rafael whose powerful right footed grounder gave no chance at all to the rival keeper as the ball hit the post before crashing into the nets.
In an effort to bolster their defence, Delhi Dynamos coach Roberto Carlos threw in Hans Mulder replacing Norwegian John Riise but it did not help even though Rafael was haunted now and then with foul play to stop him from scoring.
In the second session, FC Goa went on launching raids after raids with Delhi Dynamos unable to contain the onslaught resorted to some rough tackles, two of which could have invited penalty when Rafael was brought down into the box in the nick of time of scoring while on the other instance Joffre was brought down.
The goal that Dudu scored also had an element of class which came off following a flag kick taken by Maura who preferred to send a short pass to Jonathan who in turn passed the ball to Dudu who darted with speed and scored FC Goa’s 3rd goal to make sure that they are in the finals.