FC Goa storm through to Durand Cup semi-finals
FC Goa – 5 (Devendra DhakuMurgaokar 15’ Muhammed Nemil Valiyattil 18’ Brandon Fernandes 45 + 3’ Leander D Cunha 84’ Alexander RomarioJesuraj 90 + 2’)
Delhi FC – 1 (Nikhil Mali 82’)
FC Goa continued their brilliant run and played a dominant brand of football throughout out the 90 minutes to defeat Delhi FC 5-1 in the 130th Durand Cup quarter finals at the Kalyani Stadium on Friday. Goals from Devendra Murgaokar, Muhammed Nemil and Brandon Fernandez in the first half and Leander D’Cunha and Romario Jesuraj in the second, meant despite Delhi getting one back from Nikhil Mali, the Gaurs will take their place in the second semi-final on Wednesday, September 29, 2021, at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata.
They await the winners of the fourth and final quarter-final game between fellow ISL side Bengaluru FC and Army Green on Saturday, also scheduled at the VYBK.
Delhi FC started well in the first quarter creating quite a few opportunities for themselves. Anwar Ali and Willis Deon Plaza had their chances at scoring but failed to convert each time.
It was all FC Goa post that. In the 15th minute, Devendra Murgaokar scored the first goal and his fourth of the tournament to put the Gaurs ahead.Muhammed Nemil scored another three minutes later.
Delhi FC had chances in the remaining part of the first half but it was good work from Goa’s defence that kept them at bay.
Brandon Fernandes then lobbed a curler from the left flank over Delhi keeper Lovepreet in added time, to give Goa a big cushion of 3 goals at half time.
Delhi FC looked like they came with a plan in the second half and showed some resilience initially but luck was not smiling at them on the day. They did pull one back in the 82nd minuteas Nikhil Mali scored a smart goal after an even smarter Willis Plaza dummy inside the Goa box, spoiling the clean-sheet of Dheeraj under the Gaur’s bar.
It took Goa just a couple of minutes to regain the three goal cushion as Leander D’Cunha scored from an overhead kick which did not quite catch his foot where he would have liked it to.
Alexander Romario Jesuraj scored the fifth and final goal in injury time to seal the deal for FC Goa.
Leander D’ Cunha was adjudged the Man of the Match for his match winning performance in today’s quarter-final encounter.
(With Inputs from Pratyusha Mukherjee, a BBC Journalist based in Kolkata)