The Bengal – Goa rivalry in football got a new stage to express itself in the Hero Indian Super League, as FC Goa welcomed Atletico de Kolkata. The rivalry was always going to feisty and ATK forward Baljit Singha s red card proved a turning point in the encounter.
Both teams started the match in frantic pace but eventually settled when Atletico de Kolkata found a breakthrough. But FC Goa were the first to produce a real threat in the 9th minute, when Jofrea s ball over the top found Reinaldo, whose shot forced a save from Amrinder Singh.
Atletico produced a quick response that was eventually converted into a goal in the 13th minute. ATK found Javi Lara from a throw in deep inside the FC Goa territory, whose perfectly measured cross found Izumi Arata for the goal. The Indian playmaker has a habit of making late runs inside the box and his perfectly timed run caught the Goan defence unaware, as his sumptuous first time volley went past the goalkeeper Elinton Andrade, while leaving the Brazilian legend Lucio rooted to the spot.
The lead meant ATK were happy to sit back and defend, a calculated risk this early in the game the Atletico de Kolkata coach Habas was ready to take. FC Goa, on the other hand, were more than happy to see their opponents sit back and invite the pressure onto themselves. The FC Goa players, trusting their abilities, went into an attacking overdrive after conceding a goal, in search for the equaliser and were duly rewarded for the efforts in the 80th minute through Keenan Almedia.
FC Goa wasted a host of chances before going on to find the goal late in the second half. Romeo Fernandes was to first to have a go from distance in the 23rd minute and his strike was narrowly off the mark. Reinaldo was next in line on the 26th minute to have a go from after finding it difficult to break the resolute ATK defence. ATK went on a rare attack on the 28th minute, and were rewarded with a freekick around the halfway mark in the FC Goa half. Javi Laraa s following free kick from distance, despite covering the distance was wide of the mark.
FC Goaa s marquee player Lucio went on a rampaging run through the centre before trying his own luck at goal on 30th minute. While FC Goa went quite close on the 34th minute, Debabrata went on an overlapping run from the left back position and his cross almost reached the waiting Reinaldo, only for Denzil Francoa s slight deflection. The irony of the situation couldna t have been more cruel for the Goan side.
Atletico had the best chance to kill the game in the 36th minute, Izumi Arata and Javi Lara combined well to set the former free inside the box. But Arataa s selfish play meant the chance was spurned. Former ATK man Jofre was again spectacular with his distribution and found Mandar Rao Dessai free on 43rd minute but Mandara s cross left a lot to be desired. The rest of the half was scrappy as tempers started to flair in this hotly contested rivalry.
FC Goa started the second half, the way they ended their first half and were nearly rewarded in the 47th minute when Jofre from the free kick found Lucio whose header rammed off the second post. It was as if the lady luck had deserted FC Goa.
The match turned on its head on the hour mark, as tempers flared once again. Baljit, yellow carded for a foul on Gregory, headbutted Gregory as he reacted to the instigations from the FC Goa defender. Keenan Almeida equalised for FC Goa on the 81st minute with a pile driver of a shot. Mandara s cross found Reinaldo, who headed it down for Almeida to shoot. There was a huge chunk of stoppage as there was a utter confusion when the fourth official just could get the numbers right for the FC Goa substitution.