panjim… September 16, 2015: FC Goa beat Al Shabab 2-1 in their second friendly ahead of the upcoming Indian Super League (ISL) season 2, at the Al Shabab stadium in Dubai, on Tuesday evening.
Zico made four changes from the 11 that started in the 2-2 draw against Al Khaleej.LaxmikantKattimani started in between the sticks in place of Elinton Andrade while Narayan Das, PronayHalder and Darryl Duffy were handed starts in place of Debabrata Roy, JoaquimAbranches and ThongkhosiemHaokip.
The hosts hit on the gas early on, but the Goans managed to ward them off before Leo Moura’s cross for NicolauColaco alerted the AL Shabab defense in the eighth minute.
Goa kept a good shape in the defense marshaled by marquee player Lucio despite having to deal with a couple of long efforts from their opponents until the Gaursstarted getting offensive in attack. Reinaldo failed to control Moura’s pass in the 27th minute.
Two minutes later, it was 1-0 in favour of FC Goa with Jofrefinding the back of the net through a deflected free-kick in the 29th minute.
The ISL side kept up the ante but Narayan Das was deemed to have fouled an Al Shabab player inside the box, and a result of the converted penalty both teams walked into the lemon break with the scoreline reading 1-1.
Crossing over, it was more of a battle for authority at the center of the park despite a couple of efforts made by FC Goa to move ahead.
Three quick changes for Goa saw Nicolau, who picked a slight injury, get replaced by Keenan Almeida. Jonatan Lucca and Romeo Fernandes came in place of Bikramjit Singh and Duffy respectively.
Jofre was blocked a shot at goal in the 66th minute after linking well with Narayan and on the other side Al Shabab let fly a free-kick from about 30 yards wide of the mark.
The 71st minutes sent the FC Goa fans in Dubai in ruptures as Reinaldo restored his side’s lead with a brilliant finish that was a succeeded from a pass by Romeo who dribbled past two opponents after receiving the ball from Moura.
Chants for Romeo filled the stadium as Al Shabab tried desperately to find a late equaliser and almost did so in the 84th minute off a header.
FC Goa had to survive the remaining minutes with 10 men on the pitch following the marching orders given to skipper Lucio for high boots. Jofre gets his share of the applause, being substituted by Luciano Sobrosa in the 88thminute.
The timings of the Goan side’s remaining matches against Ajmal FC, Al Jazeera Club and Hatta Club at the respective clubs’ grounds on 16, 19, and 20 September respectively, have been revised to 1745, 1730 and 1730 respectively (Dubai local time).
Said Zico, Head Coach, FC Goa“It was good because all the players played around 90 minutes with a good level. This was the most important thing in this match. Many things were good during the matches. There are some things that we have to correct.”
Fans may follow the live updates of the friendly matches in Dubai on FC Goa’s official twitter handle (@fcgoaofficial) while those in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) can witness the stars with their own eyes.