Goa FC scored a decisive victory within the race for the play-offs however needed to defend themselves
The Gaurs have control of their fate in the play-off race.
FC Goa is in control of its fate after beating Bengaluru 2-1 at Fatorda Stadium on Sunday in the Indian Super League 2020/21 play-off race.
The result meant that Bengaluru FC will not finish in the top four in the ISL for the first time since joining, while Goa are now three points clear of play-off rivals Hyderabad and NorthEast United.
After Mandar Rao Dessai, Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous and Jackichand Singh lost in the summer, it has always been a difficult year for Goa FC as they found themselves in some kind of transition.
Most importantly, they had to find a replacement for their record-breaking goalscorer in Ferran Corominas. But the club rose to the challenge and now have a striker as clinical as Coro in Igor Angulo. It must be noted that most of the ISL clubs including Bengaluru failed to attract a clinical attacker.
Angulo scored his 13th goal in 18 games to break the impasse against Bengaluru in the 20th minute on Sunday. This goal scored Lenny's successor in Glan Martins, who expropriated Erik Paartalu. The second goal was courtesy of Alexander Romario, who allowed Redeem Tlang to score his first goal in the FC Goa colors in the 23rd minute.
When Angulo was injured for a while, Jorge Ortiz also stepped efficiently on the opportunity and filled his shoes. Alberto Noguera was also impressed and has eight templates for his name. He could have his ninth assist on Sunday if Angulo could hit the target against the oncoming Gurpreet Singh who did well to narrow the angle in the second half.
Goa is benefiting from the search for another top-notch striker in Angulo and has taken smart steps in the market to prove self-sufficient in its seasonal goals. This also includes the engagements in the AFC Champions League, which will undoubtedly represent new challenges.
Back to the current scenario, the only area that Goa needs to do much better is its background determination. Their defense has been leaking this season as they fought for more than two goals – the last of which was nine games ago in a 3-0 win over Jamshedpur.
"After 19 games it is normal for us to learn from the high press. It is necessary to keep improving as we sometimes have problems in defense," admitted Goa coach Juan Ferrando after the Bengaluru win.
If Goa qualify for the play-offs, that factor could make a huge difference. After winning on Sunday, Bengaluru didn't have many chances. JSW's own team had their chances, especially in the first half. But then again, it came down to being clinically ahead of what Goa has shown this season.
Bengaluru were unable to do much in the second half as they were pretty much dwarfed by the marauding attack on Goa, especially towards the end of the game, but you can't ignore the fact that Goa has to be much closer at the back .
Goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh continues to play for a long time after moving to Goa in January and the nerves can be seen in his game at times. But he also got the great response other than refusing Sunil Chhetri and will hope to improve with more playing time.