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FC Goa beat Al Shabab 2-1


 Dubai: FC Goa recorded an emphatic 2-1 win over Al Shabab in their second friendly ahead of the upcoming second edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Al Shabab stadium here.

Jofre Mateu Gonzalez (29th minute) and Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira (71st) and found their names on the scorecard once again last evening as the Goan franchise beat the former UAE League champions and current GCC Champions.

Zico made four changes from the 11 that started in the 2-2 draw against Al Khaleej, bringing in Laxmikant Kattimani in place of Elinton Andrade, while Narayan Das, Pronay Halder and Darryl Duffy were handed starts in place of Debabrata Roy, Joaquim Abranches and Thongkhosiem Haokip.

The hosts hit on the gas early on, but the Goans managed to ward them off before Leo Moura’s cross for Nicolau Colaco alerted the AL Shabab defense in the eighth minute.

Goa’s Lucio marshaled the defense well despite having to deal with a couple of long efforts from their rivals. Reinaldo failed to control Moura’s pass in the 27th minute. Two minutes later, it was 1-0 in favour of FC Goa with Jofre finding the back of the net through a deflected free-kick.

The ISL side kept up the ante but Narayan Das was deemed to have fouled an Al Shabab player inside the box, and as a result of the converted penalty both teams walked into the lemon break with the scoreline reading 1-1.

Crossing over, Goa made three quick changes as Nicolau Colaco, who picked a slight injury, got replaced by Keenan Almeida. Jonatan Lucca and Romeo Fernandes came in place of Bikramjit Singh and Duffy respectively.

Jofre 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 minute goal sent the FC Goa fans into raptures as Reinaldo restored his side’s lead with a brilliant finish that 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 then survive the remaining minutes with 10 men on the pitch following the marching orders given to skipper Lucio for high boots.

“It was good because all the players played around 90 minutes with a good level. This was the most important thing in this match. There are some things that we have to correct,” said Zico, Head Coach, FC Goa.

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