A gritty performance from FC Goa to win twice in a row in this season's Indian Super League. The Gaurs were brilliant in a 2-1 win over Bengaluru FC as Juan Ferrando's men look to get back in the reckoning this season with some wins. The match saw Juan Ferrando's men take the lead through Ashique Kuruniyan own goal. Later Cleiton Silva restores parity and made the Blues believe in their talent. But lastly, two homegrown talents Saviour Gama and Devendra Murgaonkar combined with the latter scoring for the winner for Goa.
The match also had plenty of controversies as two players were sent off, one from each team to make things more interesting for the viewers. Here are the top five talking points from the match.
Cleiton Silva continues to be Bengaluru's shining light
Amidst all the misery for Bengaluru FC, Cleiton Silva has probably been the only reason to celebrate. The Brazilian has plenty of tricks in his arsenal to outwit opponents and is an absolute joy to watch. Although Dheeraj Singh had some role to play in the goal that Cleiton scored, it was a great hit from the Bengaluru FC's talisman. While the Thai League top scorer has been sensational for the Blues this season, the other forwards have drastically struggled for form.
Cleiton simply has not gelled properly with Prince Ibara and Sunil Chhetri. However, both Ibara and Chhetri have been extremely wasteful this season. Cleiton has all the qualities to play upfront or even play in behind the main striker as a number 10. Marco Pezzaiouli will have to shake up his forward line as he should opt for younger alternatives in the coming matches allowing players like Chhetri and others to take a breather.
A match full of controversies
Another Indian Super League game marred with refereeing decisions. First, there were so many rash challenges from both the teams that it is not surprising that the match saw two players sent off from each side. There were plenty of poor decisions from Pranjal Banerjee but the one that had all the potential to change the course of the game was when he awarded Bengaluru a freekick from which they scored the equaliser. The replays showed that Ivan Gonzalez had little to no contact against Cleiton and the foul could have been against Bengaluru for simulation. But what unfolded was a great equaliser goal from the Brazilian.
Then there were a couple of red cards. First, it was a horrible tackle from behind and Suresh deservedly got a yellow card for that. But the retaliation from Jorge Ortiz was judged enough to hand him marching orders. A similar incident happened a few matches ago when Boumous shoved Pranay Halder in a similar situation and both the players were warned and only handed yellow cards. So the lack of consistency has also been a major factor for referees in Indian football.
A goal made in Goa
FC Goa were considered as one of the favourites to lift the ISL titles this season. But their woeful start to the current campaign saw them lose the first three matches on the trot. The belief that was on display at the Durand Cup was missing. However, they bounced back in a seven-goal thriller against SC East Bengal and that confidence has probably spurred them on to continue winning against Bengaluru FC. Therefore that Gaur mentality was evident today against the Blues. It was more so after they were a man down.
The winner was a by-product of that never die spirit of the Gaur mentality where each player believes that he can make the mark for his team. A brilliant move from Saviour Gama saw him skip past defenders before laying it forward to Devendra Murgaonkar, who simply slotted it past Gurpreet Singh Sandhu to hand FC Goa all three points. It was a dream goal for the Gaurs as they fought back especially when their main man in the attack was sent off.
Is Ashique Kuruniyan best suited to be a left-back?
Ashique Kuruniyan's journey from being one of the most sort after young forwards in the country to an ordinary left-back is very sad. The youngster who was once known for his lighting pace and exceptional dribbling quality has struggled to find his feet in the unnatural left-back position. However, despite his constant errors Marco Pezzaiouli seems to like him in that position. Ashique was once known for his marauding runs, brilliantly drilled in crosses and great dribbles but now he is mostly known for his defensive errors, own goals and lapses in concentration.
Burdening one of India's brightest attacking talents with defensive responsibilities does not send a good message to the next generation about the entire system in India. Teams hardly give chance to Indian forwards and with most slots filled they push out others in different roles.
Can this be FC Goa's turnaround?
FC Goa after losing three matches on the trot in this campaign have now won two consecutive matches against SC East Bengal and Bengaluru FC. Head coach Juan Ferrando is gradually getting things right but still, there are plenty of problems. If they intend to reach the playoffs at the end of the league they need to be more clinical in their chance creation and finishing. While it must be an occasion of joy and celebration in winning against the Blues.
The second win of this season will spur them to achieve more such wins and help the Gaurs reach the playoffs or at least fight for a place in the top four in ISL. With issues in defence and the unavailability of Jorge Ortiz in attack, Goa will face the tough Hyderabad FC test next in the league. Will they be able to turn their season around will be decided in their next match against Hyderabad FC.