FC Goa waltzed their way to the quarter-finals of the Hero Super Cup after a convincing 3-0 win over Indian Arrows here at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. The Gaurs had a tight leash on the proceedings and scored goals on either side of halftime to mark an auspicious beginning to their campaign.
Coro converted from the penalty spot to give the Gaurs an early lead in the game before Hugo Boumous - last season's highest scorer for FC Goa in the competition - bagged the second at the hour mark. The final nail in the Indian Arrows’ coffin was put in through a late own goal.
Goa were in the driver’s seat from the get go with Zaid Krouch - in his first start for the club - looking especially dangerous. It was him that finally brought about the penalty that saw Goa take the lead. A cross from Jackichand Singh on the right found its way to the Moroccan at the far post in the 16th minute of the game.
The winger did well to control the ball with his first touch before rifling in a volley. That, though, was blocked by the hands of Arrows’ Ashish Rai. The referee had no doubt in pointing to the spot.
Coro stepped up and slotted in his 15th of the season past a diving Prabhsukhan Gill to give Goa the lead.
Boumous, Krouch and Jackichand looked threatening every time they were on the ball. However, that final ball seemed to be missing in amongst all the chances created in the first forty-five.
The beginning of the second half saw the Arrows come out with renewed vigour. They, in fact, could and should have taken the lead in the 52nd minute of the game but for a truly world-class save from Mohammad Nawaz.
The youngsters did well to get a hold of the ball in an advanced position before playing in Ninthoigamba Meetei. The winger got past Carlos Pena but couldn’t get the better of Mohammad Nawaz who came out in the nick of time before pulling out his inner-David De Gea to spread himself like an eagle and blocking the attempt from point blank range.
Eight minutes later, the youngsters would have to pay dearly for the miss. Hugo Boumous - who had looked threatening for most part the game, slalomed past the defence before rounding off the keeper and slotting it beyond outstretched legs of Anwar Ali to double Goa’s lead.
That goal seemed to have broken Arrows’ resolve and the third goal soon followed. The 81st minute of the game saw the recently subbed-in Brandon Fernandes step up to take a corner. His brilliant delivery got past all and sundry in the box before striking a surprised Deepak Tangri at the far post. The defender failed to react in time and the ball ricocheted off his shin and into the goal.
The youngsters tried to get a consolation in the late minutes but to no avail.
The quarter-finals will see FC Goa square off against the winner of Jamshedpur FC and Churchill Brothers. That game is scheduled at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on April 6.