Kochi: A 10-man FC Goa denied Kerala Blasters FC their second win of the Hero Indian Super League after an injury-time strike from Lenny Rodrigues ensured a dramatic 2-2 draw at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Sunday.
Sergio Cidoncha’s (2') early goal helped the hosts set the tempo for Kerala Blasters. Mourtada Fall (41') pulled Goa level before the break but was sent off for a last-man tackle in the second half. Raphael Messi Bouli (59') regained the lead for Kerala Blasters. However, a late goal from Lenny (90+3') struck daggers into the hearts of an expectant home crowd.
Eelco Schattorie’s injury-hit team is now winless since the opening game against ATK and are eighth in the table with five points. The Gaurs are fourth on the table with nine points.
The hosts got off to a terrific start by taking the lead in the second minute. A long throw-in from the left by Raju Gaikwad hit Mourtada Fall who failed to clear the danger. The ball fell to Sergio Cidoncha whose first-time strike grazed the goalkeeper’s gloves before rolling into the net.
Goa struggled to up the ante immediately as Kerala Blasters’ energetic midfield denied their counterparts time and space to pick out their passes. Brandon Fernandes escaped his marker’s attention in the 18th minute, but his through ball was too heavy for an overlapping Mandar Rao Dessai.
Chances were few and far between as the game was mostly played in midfield. After struggling to create chances for most of the half, Sergio Lobera’s side found a way back into the game just before the breakthrough with a set-piece. An Edu Bedia free-kick was thwarted away by the Kerala defense, but only as far as Jackichand Singh, whose pinpoint cross from the right was headed in with aplomb by Fall.
Goa was dealt a hammer blow soon after the restart when Fall was sent off for a last-man challenge on Ogbeche. The defender lunged in from behind and failed to make contact with the ball. IANS