FC Goa kept pace with their rivals for a top-four spot with a 3-1 victory over Odisha FC at the Fatorda.
Goals from Alberto Noguera (18') and Jorge Ortiz (26') gave Goa an early lead to the Gaurs before Diego Mauricio (30') pulled one back for Odisha. Ivan Gonzalez (75') then put the result beyond doubt. The victory pushed Goa up to fourth with 27 points, same as Hyderabad FC in third and one point ahead of NorthEast United in fifth. The result also knocks out SC East Bengal from a mathematical chance at the playoffs.
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Goa's first goal was a team effort. A clever through ball from midfield set Gonzalez free down the left and his curling cross was headed in past Odisha keeper Arshdeep Singh by the onrushing Noguera.
A missed chance for Daniel Lalhlimpuia came before Goa went two up through a blistering counter-attack. A lovely through ball from Saviour Gama found the run of Ortiz, who beat the onrushing Arshdeep with a wonderful chip.
At that stage, it looked like Goa was going to run away with the match, but Odisha changed it all by grabbing a goal back, just minutes after they had conceded. A cross from Rakesh Pradhan on the left eluded Dheeraj and was headed in by Mauricio at the far post.
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The second half saw end-to-end action with both teams going in search of a goal. While Goa had the better chances, Odisha still had opportunities to find an equaliser. The best of these chances fell to Mauricio, who received the ball inches away from the near post. However, he went for an audacious back-heel finish and failed to connect properly.
They soon paid for the wasted chances when Goa found a third. The goal was once again down to some poor defending by Odisha. They failed to deal properly with a corner, after Arshdeep had saved Gonzalez's header, and allowed the Spaniard to poke the loose ball home.
Goa now have 27 points, level with Hyderabad FC, and are just a point above NorthEast United who have a game in hand, tomorrow vs Chennaiyin.