FC Goa got its first pre-season win in Rio de Janeiro with a superb 1-0 victory over Brazilian heavyweights CR Flamengo.…
Dynamic Brazilian striker Rafael Coelho was on hand to tap in a loose ball after the opposition goalkeeper made a save from a Robin Singh shot in the 55th minute. Thereafter, the Indian side defended resolutely and held out for a memorable win.
Zico employed a traditional 4-4-2 formation for the first time in Rio with a solid defence comprising skipper Lucio who partnered youngster Rafael Dumas. Fulganco Cardozo and Raju Gaekwad occupied the full back positions. In midfield, Joffre took up an attacking role with Sanjay Balmuchu, Trindade Goncalves and Richarlyson Barbosa complementing him in the middle of the park. Robin Singh and Rafael Coelho lead the attack for FC Goa while Laxmikant Kattimani took up his position in goal.
The first half was a cagey affair with neither side taking a foothold on the match. FC Goa defended very deep and invited pressure from the opposition which they dealt with effectively. There weren’t too many chances for either team to take the lead. Both sides exercised a degree of caution towards the end of the half as the match remained goalless going into the break.
It was a much-improved second half from both sides, as they ventured forward in search of an opener. There were no changes at the break for the Indian side as Zico kept faith with his playing 11 for the second period. Joffre missed two gilt-edged chances within two minutes to put his side in front after he shot wide from a decent angle and then his attempted lob over the keeper sailed over the bar. FC Goa exerted a good amount of pressure on the Brazilians and were finally rewarded in the 55th minute when Gaikwad found Robin behind the defence. The Indian striker’s shot however, was parried by the goalkeeper into the path of the onrushing Coelho who made no mistake from a few yards out. After taking the lead, FC Goa showed good composure on the ball and took control of the game.
Julio Cesar and Reinaldo were introduced mid-way through the half for Joffre and Robin Singh and instantly made an impact for the Indian team. The Goan trio of Mandar Rao Dessai, Romeo Fernandes and Keenan Almeida were also brought on towards the end of the second period as FC Goa earned a memorable victory against the Brazilian giants.
The squad will return to India following a good month of pre-season training and friendlies on 25th of September ahead of their 4th October Indian Super League opener against NorthEast United FC in Guwahati.