FC Goa held by Punjab FC in high-scoring thriller

posted in Match Report by FC Goa Official on 13th March 2024

posted in Match Report

by FC Goa Official

on 13th March 2024

FC Goa held by Punjab FC in high-scoring thriller

FC Goa have qualified to the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 playoffs, but the team will not be completely satisfied with settling for a draw against Punjab FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.

Carl McHugh scored an early goal for the Gaurs who then went on to maintain supremacy throughout the first half, but things changed drastically following the change of ends.

Wilmar Jordan Gil, Luka Majcen and Juan Mera found the target for the hosts, while Noah Sadaoui and Carlos Martinez’s strikes ensured that Goa did not return home empty-handed.

The draw sees Manolo Marquez’s boys remain in fourth on the standings, with 33 points from 19 matches. They have qualified for the knockouts as well, with four games remaining in their league campaign.

Earlier in the day, Goa head coach Marquez recalled McHugh into the starting XI, a move that paid dividends just five minutes after kick-off.

The Irishman volleyed home from an inch-perfect corner-kick by Borja Herrera, to score his first league goal in the ongoing season. The visitors then kept control of the proceedings for most of the first 45 minutes, and should have added to their lead easily if not for Punjab goalkeeper Ravi Kumar, who made a handful of vital saves.

In the 54th minute, Luka Majcen and Jordan Gil pounced on a defensive gaffe by the Gaurs, the latter scoring off a scruffy pass from the former. Seven minutes later, Majcen put his own name on the scoresheet with a stunning strike.

A foul on Boris Singh inside the opposition box resulted in a penalty for FC Goa in the 72nd minute, which Noah converted. But only six minutes later, the hosts regained their lead through Juan Mera’s goal.

With the contest heading towards a win for Staikos Vergetis and co, Carlos Martinez found himself at the right place at the right time to tap in Noah’s pass to rescue a point for the visitors.

In 10 seasons of the ISL, this is the seventh time that the Gaurs will progress to the playoffs. With this objective now secured, they will look to finish as high up in the points table as possible in the coming weeks, starting March 14 when they take on Bengaluru FC at home in their next assignment.