Hugo Boumous re-paid the faith shown in him by Sergio Lobera by inspiring FC Goa to a crucial win over FC Pune City on Sunday evening. The Moroccan midfielder was simply unstoppable as the Pune struggled to contain his surging runs from the middle.
In his 87 minutes on the pitch, he was dispossessed just once. He won the penalty for Goa, struck the woodwork, scored the second and created the third goal for Ferran Corominas. Pune simply had no answer on how to keep a check on the 22-year-old.
The blame also lies with Ranko Popovic. Whenever Adil Khan has been deployed as a centre-back, Pune have conceded a goal. He had committed a foul inside the box the last time these two sides met in Goa but was lucky that the referee turned a blind eye to it.
The former Sporting Clube de Goa midfielder has formed an able partnership with Marcos Tebar in the middle of the park and when they start together, Pune have put in a strong performance against top sides like Bengaluru FC and FC Goa. However, Adil isn’t a centre-back and Gurtej Singh’s injury causes trouble for Popovic.
With Adil being deployed as a centre-back, Jewel Raja partnered Tebar. In his time on the field, Raja made zero tackles or interceptions in a game where Boumous was allowed to dribble his way into the attacking third with relative ease. It would be fair to state that Raja has been a shadow of the player he was back at Pailan Arrows few years back and hasn’t really played much in last season’s I-League as well which was evident in his display.
Neither Tebar nor Raja could stop Boumous and Pune’s defence didn’t have enough resilience to deal with the threat. Vishal Kaith made some important saves to keep the score-line not turning into a tennis score.
With regards to the tackles and yellow cards being shown by referee Pranjal Banerjee, certainly Marcelinho was fouled outside the box by Sergio Juste. However, that was not a penalty. There was no reason for the Brazilian to get himself booked for protesting. Also his stamp on Pronay Halder shuld have earned him a straight red card in any case.
Meanwhile, FC Goa managed to keep a clean-sheet for the very first time. Pronay Halder made a telling difference in the central midfield. He made some crucial interceptions, tackles and even had a shot on target. His presence added solidity to the usually brittle FC Goa. Lobera wasn’t too concerned about his side keeping a clean sheet however, ask any FC Goa fan that they would tell you how relieved they are to see their club not leak in a goal.
For now Lobera would hope that Boumous and co. put in another scintillating performance against the fallen giants ATK in the midweek clash.