The Gaurs earned a dramatic win against the Red & Gold Brigade by scoring in the dying moments.

FC Goa edged out East Bengal in a 2-1 win in ISL 2022-23 at the Salt Lake Stadium on Wednesday. It was an enthralling encounter between the two sides as the Gaurs’ attacking brilliance was matched by the Red & Gold Brigade’s defensive determination. Carlos Pena’s men quickly took the lead following a breathless passage of play as Alvaro Vazquez laid it on a silver platter for Brandon Fernandes to dink the ball over Kamaljit Singh.

After an inconclusive first half and some debatable decision-making, Constantine’s cadets came out all guns blazing. Dheeraj was at fault this time as he challenged V.P. Suhair inside the box, brought him down and conceded from the resultant spot-kick. Luckily for Goa, Edu Bedia snatched the game away for FC Goa at the brink of added time to deny East Bengal a share of the spoils. His swerving free-kick sneaked in at the far post to ensure that FC Goa got all three points from their first game of the season.

Here are Khel Now’s player ratings for the match.

East Bengal (By Souvari Paul)

Kamaljit Singh – 6.5

Kamaljit had a bittersweet outing today. He occasionally made good saves and at times lost his composure. One notable save can that be of the “Olympic” effort from the corner kick by Edu Bedia in the second half, which Kamaljit saved outstandingly. The goalie however, couldn’t be blamed for the goals he conceded.

Sumeet Passi – 4.5

Passi had a terrible outing today. He started in an unusual right-back position. He did not look comfortable and FC Goa were able to exploit their right flank quite effectively.

Lalchungnunga – 6.5

The 21-year-old played his part very well. He looked solid at the back and gave East Bengal’s defence stability. In the first half, he received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Brandon Fernandes.

Ivan Gonzalez – 5

Ivan’s overall outing was debatable. It was from his mistake that FC Goa scored the first goal. Again, in the dying moments, he gave away a free kick inside his own half from where Bedia conjured his magic to seal the deal for the Gaurs.

Jerry Lalrinzuala – 8.5

Jerry played brilliantly today. He kept East Bengal’s left-wing active and also provided stability to the defensive third. It was his cross from which East Bengal won their penalty.

V. P. Suhair – 7

Suhair also had a bittersweet game today. His presence was a constant threat for Goa because of his smart runs. However, his finishing and composure need improvement. Also, the forward was shown a yellow card in the second half.

Souvik Chakrabarti – 6.5

Souvik was not very effective today. Fans expect more from him. He was replaced by Mobashir Rahman in the second half.

Jordan O’Doherty – 7

O’Doherty’s first start for East Bengal was inspiring. He kept East Bengal’s attacking third active and combined well with the strikers. Perhaps he covered the most ground for the Red & Golds this evening.

Tuhin Das – 5.5

Tuhin did not have a good game today. He lacked the form that he had shown in Durand Cup.

Cleiton Silva – 7

Cleiton had a decent outing. He converted East Bengal’s penalty. The 35-year-old was a looming threat for FC Goa throughout the game.

Alex Lima – 6.5

Alex Lima played extremely well against FC Goa. He seemed quite effective in the attacking third. He may turn out to be a good attacker for East Bengal if he can develop his game further.

Substitutes

Sarthak Golui – 7.5

Sarthak Golui came on as a substitute at half-time. He played as a right-back and ensured that Goa’s left flank remains inactive. He also aided East Bengal through his overlapping exploits.

Naorem Mahesh Singh – 8

Naorem Mahesh had a brilliant game after coming on as a sub. He made inspiring runs and kept Goa’s defenders on their toes. It was mainly his and Golui’s substitution which changed the dimension of the game.

Mobashir Rahman – 5.5

Mobashir did not prove to be very useful after coming in place of Souvik. It was not his day at the office.

Charalambos Kyriakou – 6

Kyriakou played in a central midfielder role, something which surely astonished pundits, since he usually plays as a full-back or a centre-back. Nonetheless, he was quite effective during his trade on the pitch.

Semboi Haokip – N/A

Haokip came on in the 85th minute. He did not get much time to create an impact on the game.

FC Goa (By Riddhiman Sarkar)

Dheeraj Singh – 6

Dheeraj had a howler as he ran out to clear the ball but swept up VP Suhair leading to a penalty which he then conceded. He was more involved in the second-half that saw him fly out of position, stretching to pummel aerial balls out of play. 

Seriton Fernandes – 6.5

Seriton was all over the right flank but was equally involved in defensive actions. He completed the first 90 minutes of the campaign with one interception and a tackle. Although Anwar Ali’s cover allowed him to leave the defensive half and venture forward, Seriton dropped back to complete the back four whenever needed.

Anwar Ali – 6.5

The level-headed youngster won all three of his aerial duels and used his lower body strength well to shield the ball from the likes of V.P. Suhair. Ali blocked three shots and made two interceptions as none of the East Bengal attackers could beat him.

Marc Valiente- 6

Marc Valiente’s presence somewhat brought order to the otherwise chaotic Goa defence but was not exactly calming. While he made four clearances and maintained a 93% passing accuracy, Pena took him off for Fares Aranout in the 78th minute.

Aiban Dohling – 6.5

Aiban was lucky to not get penalised for flying into Cleiton Silva in the first half as the penalty claims were surprisingly waived off by even the assistant referees. He marauded the left wing as he pushed forward often in the second half. The defender made four interceptions and two of his six crosses found their target.

Glan Martins – 6.5

Martins played second fiddle to Bedia to wrestle control of the game but was mostly tasked with cycling possession and occupying advanced areas of the pitch. He completed 22 out of his 27 passes before being subbed off for Ayush Dev Chhetri in the 66th minute.

Edu Bedia – 7.5

The Spaniard accumulated the most touches with 77, as he was once again in the thick of things for the Gaurs. The midfield maestro controlled the tempo of the game whenever he was in charge and won four out of his six ground duels. Bedia turned in Goa’s winner as Sadaoui’s run masked his curler to make its place in the back of the net.

Redeem Tlang – 6

He enjoyed a lively presence on the wings and also provided central support but failed to convert a peach of a cross from Brandon. He went into the book later on and was taken off for Makan Chothe in the 66th minute after having completed 73% of his passes.

Iker Guarrotxena – 6.5

It was an all-round shift from the attacker as he started out as a hole player but frequently switched with Vazquez in drifting out to the wings. He was at the forefront of Goa’s fluid passage of play in the attack, getting 42 touches on the ball and completing one key pass.

Brandon Fernandes – 7

Goa’s experienced Indian captain showed off brilliant composure to finish the Gaurs’ early opener as he collected a pass and ran through to flick the ball over the onrushing Kamaljit. He exited the field to give way to Devendra Murgaokar in the 87th minute after completing two of his four attempted crosses. 

Alvaro Vazquez – 7

The Spaniard was full of tricks and flicks as he linked up the attack like a veteran. From backheeling a through ball to Brandon to flicking the ball over the likes of Lalchungnunga; Vazquez did it all. He assisted Brandon for Goa’s goal and went off in the 78th minute after having attempted one shot, which if ended at the back of the net could have been one of the best goals of the competition till now.

Substitutes

Fares Arnaout – 6

He looked more dominant in the air as he won both of his aerial duels after coming on.  

Ayush Chhetri – 6

Chhetri was deployed in the right wing and was mostly confined to the same flank unlike Goa’s starting forwards. He generated one key pass.  

Makan Winkle Chothe – 6

He was not as expressive as Redeem Tlang since he only got six touches on the ball.  

Noah Sadaoui – 6.5

The Moroccan brought bags of energy to Goa’s game as he leaped to get on the end of a header on one instance. His efforts paid off as he ghosted behind a napping East Bengal defence and helped confuse Kamaljit for Goa’s winner.

Devendra Murgaokar – N/A

Devendra got only four touches and was not very visible.

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