No matter which part of Goa you are in, if the destination is the Fatorda stadium on match day, just follow one of the convoy of cars and bikes headed that way, complete with the club flag on them. On Sunday, in their opening game of the Indian Super League, they made sure Delhi Dynamos knew they were in enemy territory.
They didn’t have to wait long to be rewarded for making their way through traffic and rain, with FC Goa taking the lead in the third minute, sending the 18,013 crowd into a frenzy.
Romeo Fernandes, Goa’s standout Indian in the inaugural edition, was found by a long ball from the back and the Goan cleverly chested it past his marker on the right flank. Quick feet saw him make space inside the box and a perfect cut back found a charging Mandar Rao Dessai, who coolly slotted past Dynamos’ Sajiban Ghosh. He and Ishan Debnath were signed hours prior to kick off with regular custodians Subhasish Roy Chowdhury and Ravi Kumar undergoing rehab.
Goa were dominating, and in the 11th minute they nearly doubled their advantage when Brazilian midfielder Leonardo da Silva Moura hit the pole, striking a loose ball after Fernandes miscued his shot. The tone for the match had been set, and every touch by a Delhi player was met with silence.
On the touch line, player-manager Roberto Carlos was furious, letting his three-man defence know of his dissatisfaction. He took up a defender’s stance when the ball came near him, almost getting onto the pitch to do the job for them. Fortunately, there was no breach of rules on this occasion. The rest of the half saw Goa press Delhi for another goal, with the team absorbing any attack the latter threw at them, thanks to centre-back Lucio.
Goa’s persistence finally paid off, and in extra time in the first half, Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira doubled the lead. Midfielder Joffre Mateu Gonzalez won a free-kick on the edge of the box and the Spaniard drove in the resulting set piece himself, finding Reinaldo, who tapped in easily. Carlos has seen enough, and his introduction at the start of the second half was met by a roar. The impact was immediate with Delhi enjoying more of possession, but still failed to make their way to goal.