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Atletico de Kolkata edge past poor Goa to cement playoffs spot

Stephen Pearson scored a dramatic late winner for the Bengal Tigers...


Atletico de Kolkata maintained their excellent unbeaten record against FC Goa as they scripted a dramatic 2-1 victory to leave FC Goa on the brink of elimination from Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda-Goa, on Thursday.

Juan Belencoso gave Kolkata the lead in 28th minute but FC Goa equalised through Mandar Rao Desai in the 80th minute. The visitors however had the last laugh after scoring matchwinner in the second minute of added time.

The victory took Kolkata to the second spot with 18 points from 12 matches and almost knocked out FC Goa as the team coached by Zico is at the bottom with 11 points from 12 matches.

Zico welcomed several players who were forced to sit out through suspensions and injuries but it were Atletico de Kolkata who came up with a dominating show in the first session. Spanish players Javi Lara and Borja Fernandez controlled the midfield while upfront Helder Postiga and Juan Belencoso were a constant threat.

It didn’t take long for Atletico de Kolkata to exert influence on the game and the visitors had their first chance in seventh minute. Abhinash Ruidas tuned a good cross from the left which Postiga tried to test the goalkeeper. The ball instead deflected and fell for Belencoso but his effort from close range was blocked by the legs of goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani.




Kattimani was again in top form when he denied Javi Lara’s angular shot from just inside the box but the Goa goalkeeper could do nothing when Belencoso jumped high to meet a cross from Ruidas in the 28th minute.

Despite being behind, Goa could not create chances and had no chances of note. Rafael Coelho’s ambitious overhead kick from a Joffre Gonzalez corner was the closest they got but had Postiga’s header not hit the crossbar from Lara’s corner, it would have been all over for Goa.

Even in the second session, Kolkata continued to miss chances. Postiga’s shot after Richarlyson gave the ball away in a dangerous position was saved by Kattimani and Belencoso should have done better in the 60th minute with only the goalkeeper to beat.

The match turned interesting in the last 10 minutes after Mandar Rao Desai secured the equaliser for FC Goa in the 80th minute. The Goa midfielder received a ball just outside the box and unleashed a powerful grounder which beat Kolkata goalkeeper Debjit Majumder.

For the last 10 minutes, FC Goa literally camped in the Kolkata half and allowed space for visitors to score the match winner in the second minute of added time from a counter attack. A freekick in the Kolkata side saw them taking if quickly and Sameehg Doutie did well to pick up Pearson for an easy finish.

Report and Photo © ISL Media


Published: Thu Nov 24, 2016 10:04 PM IST

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