Powered by a fine hat- trick by Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira, a rampant FC Goa secured their place in the semifinals of the Indian Super League (ISL), with a record 5-1 win over Kerala Blasters. It was the Zico coached side’s biggest away victory so far, in the ISL. The thumping win saw FC Goa move into the second spot, with 22 points from 13 games, while Kerala Blasters stayed at the bottom, with 12 points from as many fixtures.
The Blasters’ second minute lead, scored by Victor Herrero Forcada, was annulled by Jofre Mateu Gonzalez, in the 12th minute, at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. FC Goa had their third hat-trick hero in Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira (29’, 50’, 61’), while Mandar Rao Dessai (64’), joined the party to ensure a comfortable win. The home team had to play the second half with 10 men, following the sending off of Josu Carrias.
The game started on the wrong foot for the Goans, when Forcada scored early on as he lobbed the ball wide on the right to Antonio German, who cut past Mandar Rao Dessai, and put it back for the Spaniard to blast into the nets. In the counter, Mandar almost found Reinaldo ahead of Stephen Bywater, with a cross from the left, but the Kerala goalkeeper held on neatly.
FC Goa soon got back in the game when Reinaldo side footed a Pronay Halder cross from the right, standing in between Deepak Mandal, and Peter Ramage, to release Jofre, who sweetly chipped the ball above Bywater, to score the equaliser. German kept pressurising, and had the visiting team’s defense on their toes to scramble away a clearance off one of his runs in the 19th minute, while FC Goa continually surged into the attack until they took the lead in the 29th minute.
The move was initiated by Moura, with a diagonal pass to Mandar, on the left wing, to receive it back at the edge of the box. The number 10 served a delightful through ball on the platter for Reinaldo, who calmly placed the ball across the goal line. The end of the first half was preceded by a straight red card to Currias, for the Kerala player’s retaliation to a challenge from Jofre. The fourth and fifth goals came in the 61st and 64th minutes.