Photo Credit: ISL Media Twitter (https://twitter.com/IndSuperLeague/status/1330542307242881039/photo/1)
ISL 2020-21: FC Goa- Bengaluru FC encounter ends all square
The Goan side came from behind to level the scoreline which ended in a draw.
Hosts FC Goa settled to a 2-2 draw on Sunday night at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. Goals from Cleiton Silva in the first half and Juanan in the second had put visitors into the lead, but the hosts scored in quick succession just minutes later to bring the match on level terms, thanks to the much-needed brace from debutant Igor Angulo.
The match began with Bengaluru spearheaded in the forward region, as early as in the second minute of the match, Sunil Chhetri made an attempt at the goal from outside the box, which he dragged wide. Later, Ashique Kuruniyan made a blistering run to shoot at the goal and made the Goan custodian Mohammed Nawaz make an effortful save. The Goan side held the lion's share of possession but were unable to make it count in the final third. Bengaluru's attacking persistence finally paid off in the 27th minute, when a long throw-in from Harmanjot Khabra connected perfectly with Cleiton Silva, who headed it home to make it 1-0 for the visitors. They would get another chance before halftime to extend the lead when Cleiton's backheel would set Chhetri for a shot, but the latter would scuffle it.
The rest of the half continued with Goa dominating possession but were unable to find the equalizer. The only good chance for the hosts came just before the halfway point, when Igor Angulo headed a ball anywhere but straight into Bengaluru's Gurpreet Singh Sandhu's hands.
The second half of the match begun with the same tone, as the Goans tried hard to find the equalizer, but substitute Deshorn Brown's header off a cross was cushion-headed by Aussie Erik Paartalu into Juanan's path as the Spaniard headed it home to double the lead for the visitors on the night, right before the hour mark.
Just when it seemed that visitors may have done enough to take all the points from the match, Goa found the first goal of the night, when substitute Alberto Noguera's pass beat the Bengaluru defense line and fell into space for Igor Angulo, who clinically finished as the hosts brought it one back.
All then the Gaurs needed was three minutes to restore the parity when substitute Alexander Jesuraj's cross from the right was chested into the net by Igor Angulo, who found his second of the night.
Goa played with more conviction and continued to look for the winner, and they had a golden opportunity just minutes before the final whistle when Jorge Mendoza made an effort at the goal, but Gurpreet evaded the danger, and it ended up all square on the night.
FC Goa's head coach Juan Ferrando was pleased with the team's efforts. The substitutions made by the coach worked well as they managed to restore the parity in the second half, and Ferrando was all praises for the players, “Not only Brandon, Aiban, Alberto Noguera, Alexander Romario [Jesuraj], all players were working a lot on the pitch and helping the team. I think after going down by two goals, it was important to change the system. I am happy because we made it 2-2, but I am not so happy because we got only one point but we played like we wanted all three points.”
On Igor Angulo's performance, he had a simple reply, “Igor is a No. 9, the most important player in the team. It was his job to score the goals,” he said.
When asked if his team loosened up after the 2-goal lead and became complacent, Bengaluru FC's head coach Carles Cuadrat said, "Our players were fighting for the full points and we were pushing from the first minute. The thing is we are still in pre-season because it has been a short pre-season for us and my team gave their best. There was a moment where we started to suffer and we tried to make the substitutions. But such things happen. They have a very good team, a lot of quality players, and this kind of thing happens."
Although not satisfied with the result, the Spaniard found his respite in the fact that the players did not suffer any injury on the night, a concern which has haunted many coaches already," It’s been tough for the players because we have had only a few weeks of pre-season. It’s not an excuse."
"Fortunately, there were no injuries today. We have to try to preserve the health of the players,” he said.