FC Goa had no right to leave the pitch with only one goal next to their name in the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) match against Odisha on Saturday. Goa were the better side from the first minute to the last. They bossed all areas of the pitch, looked solid throughout and secured three points without facing much of an opposition from Stuart Baxter's team. They did it all without key midfielder Edu Bedia who was rested for the game.
There was a lot to take away for Baxter from his side's poor performance. They had too much respect for Goa and it is puzzling why the approach was not altered either after the break or even towards the end.
Shubham Sarangi, not for the first time this season, had a forgettable outing as a right-back. The midfielder-turnt-defender lost track of Alexander Romorio who assisted the only goal in the game at the stroke of half-time.
Romario found Angulo in the centre of the box with a neat pass from the right side and once again he proved why Goa weren't wrong in placing their faith in him to replace the legendary Ferran Corominas. His delightful first touch followed by a simple finish to give his team the lead (and three points) was certainly a moment you can watch on loop.
Lenny Rodrigues bossed the pitch in the first half and Brandon Fernandes kept the ball alive in the final third to deny the Odisha defence time to relax. Even after the restart, Odisha looked a confused side and allowed Goa to play their football.
Manuel Onwu looked completely ineffective upfront and Diego Mauricio, better known as Drogbinha, was clueless as a winger. There was no spirit in any of Odisha's individual outfield displays. The only player who looked up to the task was goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh who pulled off close to half a dozen stupendous saves to deny the Gaurs a smashing lead.ISL
After the hour-mark is usually when coaches alter their gameplan and make changes but Baxter seemed to be either equally clueless on the touchline or stubborn enough to stick to his plan A which was clearly not working. It must also be mentioned that Baxter doesn't have much quality on the bench either and whatever he does, they weren't introduced earlier.
With the likes of Nandhakumar Sekar and Marcelinho on the bench, Odisha remarkably made their first substitution in the 85th minute! And that too was a swap of midfielders as Saurabh Meher replaced Vinit Rai. Although five changes are allowed this season, Baxter made his second and final change by bringing Marcelinho on for Mauricio in the 88th minute.
Nothing Odisha did against Goa made sense. The management will be hoping it was one of those days or if it isn't, they have a difficult season ahead.