Lessons to be learnt as boys go down 2-1 against FC Goa in Odisha

The Red and Gold brigade suffered their 2nd loss of the league campaign in Odisha as the Gaurs mounted a second half comeback, after the boys had taken the lead through Mahesh’s stunning effort.

In a home fixture, that had to be held in an alternate venue owing to puja festivities in the City of Joy, Coach Carles opted to start the game with both Siverio and Captain Cleiton leading the line. The Gaurs kept most of the ball in the opening exchanges as both teams looked for the early goal that would help dictate the proceedings. Nandhakumar Sekar was at his lively best as he looked menacing everytime he had possession of the ball in the opposition half. Despite spirited performances from both the sides, the deadlock continued till the water break with both teams coming close but not converting their opportunities. It was however, post the break though, that Nandha bombarded into the opposition half on his own and found Mahesh with a pin point cut back from the right wing which the latter curled around Dheeraj Singh for the opening goal of the contest in the 40th minute. Minutes later, the boys had the opportunity to make it 2-0 and perhaps kill the contest, but failed to make the most of an excellent situation in the opposition box. With the lead in the bag, the boys saw out the rest of the half, heading into the break with the slender advantage.

The 2nd half began with FC Goa introducing Rowllin Borges in place of Raynier, as the Gaurs looked for the equaliser. Rowllin got close to scoring in the 47th minute but his shot was just off target. A few moments later, the game had to be stopped following an injury to Goa midfielder Brandon Fernandes, as he had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Boris. Coach Carles rang in his first change in the 65th minute bringing on Nishu Kumar for Rakip in a move which saw Khabra slot in at right back and Nishu in a deep midfield role. In the 74th minute, FC Goa equalised through Sandesh Jhinghan’s header from Victor Rodriguez’s free kick and before anyone had the chance to soak the moment in, FC Goa got the lead in the very next minute stealing the ball in midfield for Victor to slot the ball home. A flurry of changes from Coach Carles in search for a late equaliser proved futile as FC Goa’s defence managed to keep out our forays into the opposition box.

Speaking after the game Head Coach Carles Cuadrat rued the moments of chaos that led to us squandering the lead and then conceding a winner. “We were trying to go in front and trying to be compact in the defence, but it is true that in the second half, we started to lose the ball very easily. We were trying to cover half of the pitch with Nishu (Kumar) and Borja (Herrera) in the middle of the pitch trying to help Saul (Crespo), but just the set-piece changed everything and then we switched off for a few minutes and it is incredible that they scored the goals within one minute. I think that we are in the middle of a new project with a lot of new players. I think that we need to find the maturity to manage the game better. I think that this was a very tough lesson for us”, the Gaffer said at the press conference.

The boys will now return home to Kolkata and will get a window of 2 weeks to recover and prepare for the game against Kerala Blasters on the 4th of November.