Super Cup 2018: Difference in quality evident as FC Goa reign supreme over defective ATK

AIFF Media
Despite Robbie Keane scoring an equaliser early in the second half, FC Goa looked to be too good for Kolkata-based club...

On Tuesday, FC Goa were without two of their most influential players in the starting lineup as they eased past ATK 3-1 in the pre-quarterfinals of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium. 

Ahmed Jahouh and Manuel Lanzarote missed out as stand-in coach Derick Pereira tried to get his team to play exactly like how they played all season in the Indian Super League (ISL) under Sergio Lobera. And he succeeded. 

ATK were faced with ominous signs right from the start. Edu Bedia quickly took control of the game in midfield and Morrocan Hugo Boumous helped create space for Ferran Corominas up front with his intelligent runs. But the Gaurs lacked quality in the final third in the first half.

Brandon Fernandes found himself in space behind the defence more than once but could not deliver a good cross into the box. For all his skill and direct running that left Keegan Pereira helpless, his crosses were either too heavy or easily cleared from inside the box. 

FC Goa ATK Super Cup 2018

Robbie Keane was one player who showed hunger and desire to snatch the midfield dominance from Goa. ATK fielded Hitesh Sharma and Conor Thomas in midfield and both players were schooled by their counterparts, leaving Keane and Robin Singh to force errors out of the Goa defence in order to fashion goalscoring chances. 

While Robin Singh remained on the periphery throughout, player-coach Keane tried to make things happen. Neveen Kumar's first touch was proving a time-bomb waiting to explode whenever FC Goa played out from the back.

Ashutosh Mehta's failed to maintain the offside trap and Edu Bedia, who was bossing the midfield, split the defence to release Coro into the box and Goa's leading goalscorer slotted home the opener at the stroke of half-time.

FC Goa ATK Super Cup 2018

Keane rallied his team out for the second half and found the equaliser five minutes after the restart. A brilliant cross by Zequinha was flicked towards the far post by Anwar Ali and Keane, who was left unmarked, netted what would later turn out to be little more than a consolation. 

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ATK looked like they were slowly getting back into the game but Goa's superiority, especially in midfield, shut the doors in the face of Keane and co. 

Corominas lobbed the ball over the defence to pick out Boumous' run (which looked offside) from the left and the midfielder, encouraged by the lack of an offside flag and the slow-paced recovery of the ATK defence, surged into the box and scored the second goal. 

Brandon seemed to have learnt his lessons from the first half as he opted to curl Corominas' lay-off into the corner to score Goa's third goal, which essentially put the game to bed. For a struggling ATK who failed to get a grip on the game even after Robbie Keane's efforts to rally the team, it was reminiscent of their troubles since the start of the season.