FC Goa’s thumping 5-1 win in the first leg of the semi-final against Mumbai City FC proved enough to take the Gaurs to the final of the ISL. Mumbai got the better of the home side in the second leg of the tie but their 1-0 win couldn’t overturn the 4-goal margin Goa carried with them into the second leg.
An early goal from Rafael Bastos had the nerves jangling for the Gaurs, but the Men in Orange kept their composure to see the game through.
The Gaurs got the first chance of the game when a foul on Hugo Boumous at the edge of the penalty box saw Brandon Fernades step up to the plate. The Goa native managed to keep the shot on target but didn’t have enough precision or power to really trouble Amrinder.
The early jitters were set in when Arnold Issoko was able to intercept a ball from Ahmed Jahouh who then raced forward before playing in Rafael Bastos who did well to slot in the opportunity to give Mumbai an early lead.
Mumbai, desperate for a second pressed on with Bastos and Modou Sougou testing Naveen Kumar in goal in the early goings. The visitors had a great opportunity to go two in front in the 23rd minute when Sougou was able to use his pace to get behind the defence but Naveen was yet again on his toes as he came out in time to narrow the angle and pull off another great save before Mourtada Fall cleared.
With Ahmed Jahouh on a yellow, Sergio Lobera substituted the Moroccan to get in Edu Bedia in the 34th minute to bring a sense of calm to the proceedings for the Gaurs. With the Spaniard taking over the reins in midfield, the visitors had very little opportunity to make any further inroads for the rest of the half.
Goa started the second half on the front foot with Mandar Rao Dessai looking ominous on the left side. A low cross from the left back in the 51st minute nearly found Coro at the near post but for a last ditch tackle which cleared the ball for a corner.
With Goa controlling the game, they produced their best chance in the 56th minute when Jacki was played in by Coro on the right. The man from Manipur surged down the flank before crossing it in. Amrinder, in the Mumbai goal was only able to palm it away and into the path of an onrushing Coro. With the goal at its mercy, the Spaniard to the surprise of all failed to get over the ball and struck the crossbar from eight yards out.
Both sides traded blows in the last half an hour without anyone creating an opportunity to write home about.
The final whistle of the referee sealed the fate of Mumbai City FC for this season whilst FC Goa rejoiced at having reached the final of the ISL for the second time. The Gaurs now face Bengaluru FC in Mumbai on March 17 in the grand finale where the India Super League will crown a new champion.