FC Goa coast past Kerala Blasters, qualify for playoffs
The Gaurs have leapfrogged Bengaluru FC to go top of the table.
FC Goa became the second Hero Indian Super League (ISL) side to book their place in the playoffs after a convincing 3-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday evening.
Quickfire goals in the first half from Ferran Corominas (22’) and Edu Bedia (25') and a third by Hugo Boumous (78') helped the hosts do the double over the Kerala outfit in the season.
To make the result all the more sweeter, the Gaurs have leapfrogged Bengaluru FC to go top of the table. Goa has 31 points from 16 games same as Bengaluru FC but with a better goal difference now occupies the first position. On the other hand, Kerala Blasters, remain ninth after slumping to their seventh loss of the season.
FC Goa were on the money right from the start as Jackichand Singh threatened the Kerala defence as he twisted and turned the likes of Lalruatthara and Anas Edathodika on a couple of occasions. One of his efforts did beat Dheeraj Singh but came off the woodwork, much to Kerala’s relief.
Kerala then found the back of the net through Slavisa Stojanovic after a quick interplay with Matej Poplatnik. However, the linesman had his flag raised after Courage Pekuson was deemed to be in an offside position.
Goa got a deserved breakthrough midway into the first half through Ferran Corominas. Brandon Fernandes’ cross from the left was headed home with ease by the Spaniard after he was afforded a lot of space inside the box by Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan.
In the 25th minute, Edu Bedia doubled the lead by slotting the ball into an empty net. This was after Anas sent a back-pass to Dheeraj whose clearance was straight at Corominas. The Spaniard took a touch and laid the ball on a platter for Bedia who applied the finishing touch to make matters worse for the visitors.
Goa continued to see more of the ball with Kerala struggling to create any opportunity of note.
However, the first chance in the second half fell to Kerala when Sahal Samad let loose from outside the box which finally forced a save from Goa custodian Naveen Kumar. But that was about it for Kerala, with Goa exerting control.
Before the hour mark, Ahmed Jahouh sent a brilliant ball over the top for Corominas who made a bustling run and managed to get beyond Anas and Dheeraj only for a last-ditch tackle from Poplatnik to avert the danger.
Jahouh could have added his name on the score-sheet with a long-range effort which went inches wide of Dheeraj’s goal.
Goa sealed the victory in the 78th minute when the substitute Hugo Boumous dribbled past a couple of players and evaded the challenge from Jhingan to beat Dheeraj at his near post to make it 3-0.
There were late chances for Goa to increase their tally with Bedia seeing a wonderful lob over Dheeraj Singh come back off the post. However, Serio Lobera would not have been disappointed, having notched their fifth clean sheet in a row.
Published: Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:31 PM IST