Panjim, Goa: FC Goa raced to the top of the Hero ISL standings with a second consecutive five goal haul against Delhi Dynamos FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi. Golden Boot holder Ferran ‘Coro’ Corominas opened the scoring for the home side in first half stoppage time and Manuel Lanzarote doubled the lead second later with a sublime curling effort from distance. The Dynamos got back in the game in the 63rd minute through Kalu Uche, but a red card to Gabriel Cichero ensured that the Gaurs finished the game strongly. Pritam Kotal diverted the ball into his own net from substitute Manuel Arana’s low cross. Minutes later, another substitute Adrian Colunga made it 4-1. As the game petered to a finish, Arana smashed home a fifth after Sukhadev Patil’s parried Colunga’s curling effort from the edge of the box.
Delhi started the game on the front foot and had an early claim for a penalty waved off after Ahmed Jahouh clashed with Lumu in the box. However, it was the Gaurs who got the first good chance of the match. Lanzarote collected the ball on the right hand side and fed Mandar who touched the ball away from Gabriel Cichero and hit a superb right footed effort that caught the crossbar and flew high. The home side though, had a clear game plan and that was to not allow the Gaurs time and space in midfield. As a result, Jahouh and Bedia weren’t able to assert themselves on the game, something they have been used to in the past four matches. Mandar was presented with another half chance on the 17th minute mark. The Goan was played through beautifully by Coro and he turned and twisted his way in the box but Rowilson Rodrigues got a touch on the ball to take it away from him as the chance went begging.
After that however, the Dynamos began to assert themselves on the game. Guyon Fernandez, Paulo Diaz and Kalu Uche were causing all sorts of problems for the Gaurs. However, the defence held their own and rebuffed the Delhi advances. Delhi had a superb chance to score the opener in the 30th minute after Pritam ran down the right and put in a superb low cross. The Nigerian however, couldn’t get his strike away under pressure from Bruno Pinheiro. A minute later, Diaz received the ball and smacked a brilliant half volley at goal. The ball beat Laxmikant Kattimani but came off the crossbar and back into play. As the half petered to a close, the home side continued to pressurize the Goan defence. Lumu received the ball and played a low cross across the box in the hope of finding the run of Guyon. His pass though, had too much pace and the chance was lost. The match came to life in stoppage time however after Brandon was fouled on the right wing by Timothy. Lanzarote stepped up and curled a free-kick towards the goal keeper whose punch doesn’t get the distance he would have liked. The ball ricocheted off a Delhi defender and Coro tapped the loose ball home. Just as the home side calmed their nerves and attempted to get back into the game, they found themselves down by two goals. After losing possession in midfield, Coro played Lanzarote through and the midfielder took a couple of steps forward and curled an absolutely sensational left footed strike past Sukhadev to give the Gaurs a 2-0 lead before the break.
Delhi had a mountain to climb in the second half and they came out all guns firing. Unfortunately for the Gaurs, top scorer Coro was forced off with a rib injury and was replaced by Adrian Colunga. Kalu Uche began to cause the defence all sorts of trouble with his physical presence in the box. The defence however, was doing well to keep the home side at bay. The Gaurs were forced to play on the counter attack and they almost scored a third after Mandar found Colunga with a superb ball that split the defence. The striker attempted to lob the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper but failed to find the target. Delhi remained unfazed though and continued to look for a goal. Their persistence was rewarded in the 63rd minute when Romeo beat the offside trap to run on to Diaz’s through ball and promptly squared for Uche who tapped into an empty net.
Colunga almost hit the Dynamos right back with a left footed effort that creeped just wide of the far post. Things however, didn’t go to plan for Delhi after Gabriel Cichero brought down Colunga hardly a minute later. The defender was shown a second yellow and with that, the home side were down to 10 men. That didn’t deter them from their task though and they continued to assert dominance in an attempt to score the equalizer. Substitute Sena Ralte was played in down the left in the 80th minute and crossed the ball to the centre of the box. The ball just about beat the head of Lumu as the chance went begging.
Thereafter, FC Goa turned on the heat once more and completely shut down the home side. In the 84th minute, Seriton made a superb run from defence and played the ball through to substitute Arana who put in a quality low cross in the direction of the Colunga. But Kotal, in his attempt to clear the ball diverted it past his keeper into his own net. Mere seconds later, the Gaurs were further in front. Arana once again was at the heart of it. This time he collected a pass down the right wing and put in a pin point cross to the far post which Colunga ran on to and volleyed home to open his account for the club. Arana then capped off his Man of the Match performance with a goal to secure top spot on the table for his side on goal difference. He played a lofted ball towards Colunga who trapped it, turned and shot, but Sukhadev was unable to hold on to the ball. Arana continued his run and smashed home the loose ball to make it five goals for the Gaurs for the second match running. Delhi looked down and out as the match headed into stoppage time. The Gaurs sensed an opportunity to further increase their league but were unable to do so before the referee called for time on proceedings.
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