It was Chennaiyin FC who drew first blood at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Saturday, but FC Goa had the last laugh at the end of the match as they scripted a spirited comeback to win 4-1 to advance to the semi-finals of the ongoing Durand Cup.
All four goals of FC Goa were scored by the Club’s foreign signings, as Carl McHugh, Carlos Martinez, Noah Sadaoui and Victor Rodriguez netted once each. Bikash Yumnam found the back of the net for the Marina Machans.
The game kicked off with an early breakthrough for Chennaiyin FC in the 5th minute, as Yumnam capitalised on a corner-kick to fire the ball into the back of the net, catching the Goa defence off-guard and giving his team an early lead.
FC Goa, however, quickly turned the tables on their opponents with an impressive attacking display. In the 30th minute, new signing Carl McHugh found himself in the right place at the right time to convert a precise headed pass from Noah Sadaoui, levelling the scoreline with a clinical finish that also earned him his maiden goal for his new team.
The Gaurs then continued to press forward, showcasing their attacking intent. The 37th minute witnessed a moment of pure brilliance from Carlos Martinez, as he cleverly spotted the Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Samik Mitra off his line and executed a perfectly weighted lob from just outside the six-yard box.
The ball sailed gracefully over Mitra and nestled into the far corner of the net, giving the Men in Orange a much-deserved lead.
The second half continued to deliver riveting moments, with both teams pushing hard for their respective goals. Goa had their opportunities, with Sandesh Jhingan’s header from a Brandon Fernandes free-kick narrowly missing the target in the 63rd minute. A remarkable save by goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh in the 72nd minute denied Chennaiyin FC’s Jordan Murray from point-blank range.
As the match entered its final moments, FC Goa showcased their offensive prowess once again. In the second minute of stoppage time, Sadaoui capitalised on a precise assist from McHugh, displaying exceptional composure inside the six-yard box to extend FC Goa’s lead.
The icing on the cake for the Gaurs came a minute later, when Victor Rodriguez, with an assist from Boris Singh, found the back of the net, thereby completing his team’s 4-1 win.
FC Goa, who were the champions of the 2021 edition of the Durand Cup, will now wait to see the result of the upcoming fourth quarter-final between Mumbai City and Mohun Bagan Super Giant, to see who they will face in the semi-finals.