FC Goa were pipped to the win late by FC Pune City at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa on Saturday, losing 2-1 as the visitors picked their first win of the Indian Super League's (ISL) third edition. Arata Izumi's 25' minute opener was canceled out by Rafael Coelho's 33' minute equalizer, before Momar Ndoye's late magic turned the tide in Pune's favour.
Zico made his intentions clear by opting to start Reinaldo Olivieira for the unimpressive Richarlyson Barbosa. The Gaurs lined-up in a 4-4-2 formation with the midfield shaped as a diamond.
Antonio Habas opted for a 3-5-2 formation with marquee player Mohamed Sissoko starting the game in his trademark deep-lying-midfield position. Dharmaraj Ravanan joined Eduardo Ferreira and Gouramangi Singh in the three man defense while Tato and Zurdo were entrusted with attacking responsibilities.
The Gaurs had the first opportunity of the game in the sixth minute. Jofre Mateu and Mandar Rao Dessai linked up on the left to earn a free-kick on the edge of the box. The corresponding kick taken by Rafael took a wicked deflection off the Pune City defensive wall and nearly trickled into the back of the net, but Gouramangi Singh was present to clear it off the line.
Pune City took time to settle into their new formation but soon found their groove as they began passing the ball with much more conviction and reaped rewards for their diligence. They took the lead in the 25th minute courtesy of an Arata Izumi tap-in finish.
Jonatan Lucca took a shot from 30 yards which was saved by Laxmikant Kattimani but the former Atletico de Kolkata midfielder was present to pick up the pieces and slot into the back of the net.
Coelho got on the end of a Jofre Mateu flick-on header to put the ball in the back of the net. Gouramangi Singh lost his footing while trying to track-back towards his goal and Coelho slotted it beyond Edel to make it 1-1.
There was some poetic justice on offer at the stroke of half-time, when Goa were awarded a free-kick for Sissoko's tackle on Trindade, which wasn't a foul. The resulting free-kick yielded a corner, which, taken by Jofre, was met by Raju's header. Eduardo handled it inside the box but Goa were denied a penalty as the referee blew his whistle for half-time.
At the resumption of the second-half, Zico brought on Romeo Fernandes for Fulganco Cardozo as he switched to a 3-5-2 formation with Romeo Fernandes and Mandar as the two wing-backs.
Coelho had a chance in the 51st minute but he went for glory instead of passing to the better positioned Reinaldo and his shot was kept out by Edel. Romeo had a couple of opportunities. Trindade took a quick free-kick which flummoxed the entire Pune defense as Romeo got on the end of it but his attempt was saved by the Pune custodian. Ten minutes into the second half and Jofre picked out Romeo in acres of space but the winger skied his effort with Zico being livid with the missed chance.
FC Pune City spurned a glorious chance against the run of play in the 60th minute when Anibal manufactured an opportunity for himself to take a shot on goal after beating Lucio and Kattimani but his weak attempt was cleared off the line by Raju Gaikwad.
Pune’s appeals for a spot-kick were spurned down in the 67th minute. Tato did well to get inside the box and play it back for Anibal. However, Lucio cleared the ball from his feet just in time.
There was pace, trickery and athleticism on display in the 69th minute from Goa as Romeo danced past his marker on the right and sent a fizzing cross which was acrobatically met by Trindade and saved by Edel.
Sahil Tavora was handed his debut in the 83rd minute as the 22-year-old came on for Mandar Rao Dessai. The move meant Sanjay Balmuchu was deployed on the left-hand side of the defense and Tavora slotted into midfield.
Momar N'doye dropped his shoulder to get past Lucio to place the ball into the left top corner with Kattimani being stranded as he was off his line.
Majority of the19003 spectators assembled at the Fatorda Stadium were left stunned by the Senegal striker's goal.
Goa were left to rue the two chances spilled by Romeo Fernandes on the resumption of the second-half as the Gaurs ended up on the losing side at the blow of the final-whistle. FC Pune City were slow to start the game but took their opportunities.