The second leg of any football tie involves a lot of pressure. In Tuesday’s clash between FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos in Goa, the challenge was for mentor Zico to keep apprentice Roberto Carlos in check. After a few heated words and 90 minutes of football, the former came out on top as his side scored thrice on the night to win the two-leg semifinals 3-1 on aggregate.
Tempers flew early in the game, with Zico and Carlos exchanging a few heated words not long after they had shook hands.
The fraught nature of the contest continued throughout. At the fag end of the game, with a 0-3 disadvantange and the tie slipping out of their hands, the Delhi players lost their balance. Adil Nabi got into an argument with the fourth official, and was promptly sent off.
Trailing by a first-leg goal, Zico made as many as five changes to the side, giving starts to Indian players Romeo Fernandes, Mandar Desai and Bikramjit. They justified the decision with inspired performance.
With top-scorer Reinaldo missing due to injury, the onus was on the youngsters to come good. Desai made the crucial assist to send Rafael Coelo through for the team’s second goal in the 23rd minute. The home-side had earlier opened their account with a solo-run by Joffre Gonzalez in the 11th minute.
The Goa outfit put the match beyond Delhi’s reach late in the second half as Dudu scored in the 84th minute, after Romeo created a chance from a difficult position.
Carlos, who had started with an unchanged side from the first leg, was forced onto the back foot as his go-to man in defence John Arne Riise seemed out of shape, and was taken out in the 30th minute.
With five days to go for the final, to be played in Goa, Zico’s men have some time to rest and take stock as they await the result from the second semifinal clash between Chennaiyin FC and Atletico de Kolkata.