FC Goa held Kerala Blasters to an exciting 2-2 draw in an Indian Super League (ISL) sixth-round clash on Sunday at the JLN Stadium, Kochi.
Sergio Cidoncha had put the hosts in front in the first minute of the match but Mourtada Fall restored parity in the 41st minute. Raphael Messi Bouli once again brought Kerala in front in the 59th minute but Lenny Rodrigues' (90+2') late equaliser earned the Gaurs an important away point.
Contrary to popular expectation, Kerala Blasters started the game on the attack and dominated offensively for most parts of the first half. Eelco Schattorie’s men scored their fastest goal of the season with Sergio Cidoncha scoring in the second minute.
Raju Gaikwad was instrumental in delivering an accurate long throw into the Goa box that Mourtada Fall was unable to clear successfully. Cidoncha struck on the half-volley, caught Mohammad Nawaz by surprise at the near-post and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
The hosts managed to put the Gaurs under pressure, force mistakes and win the ball in deep areas on the pitch but were unable to extend their lead.
Messi Bouli was at the end of two big chances created by Mohamad Rakip and Bartholomew Ogbeche but his finishing just wasn’t as good as his first touch in both cases.
It took the visitors over half an hour to wake up. In the 41st minute, Fall redeemed himself for his earlier mistake by heading home Jackichand Singh’s cross. Vlatko Drobarov was guilty of committing an unnecessary foul on Manvir Singh that ultimately led to the equaliser.
The second half got off to a fiery start with Fall seeing red for a classic last-man foul on Ogbeche. Kerala took the initiative in an attempt to make the advantage count by pressing on for the lead. The inevitable occurred in the 59th minute when Messi contact with Prasanth's low-cross and nudged the ball past Nawaz.
The hosts were presented with many opportunities to seal the game, but Ogbeche was not his usual prolific self and the scoreline stayed 2-1, with Kerala's defence slowly showing signs of breaking down.
The Gaurs piled on the pressure and managed to score in the second minute of injury time with Lenny reacting first to Rehenesh's rebound off Manvir's initial shot.
This was a brilliant opportunity for Schattorie's men to grab all three points but poor composure at the death cost them two of those.