For 45 minutes on Saturday, it seemed like FC Goa were on course to script a historic comeback in the second leg of their semi-final against Chennaiyin FC.
With key players returning to the matchday squad, the Gaurs were hopeful of scoring more than a goal at their home ground but they still needed to score three goals without conceding any. Their poor show in the first leg in Chennai meant the scoreline read 1-4 before kick-off. At half-time, Goa were up by two goals.
Chennaiyin knew what was coming but such was FC Goa's intensity and proficiency going forward that goals were a guarantee in the first half. It was a matter of how many they could score before the break and Lucian Goian's own-goal from Jackichand Singh's cross and Mourtada Fall's header from a Brandon Fernandes free-kick put the Gaurs on the front foot.
The advantage Chennaiyin carried into the second leg seemed non-existent at the break. The Marina Machans were simply not having any say in the proceedings on the field and were being steamrolled. The team that turned their season around in style and were on a nine-match unbeaten run had to respond after the break. They did, and how!
Momentum was with the home team but their first-leg performance simply denied them breathing space. Chennaiyin only needed to take their chances when they arrived as Goa had to keep marauding the visitors' final third to find their third goal.
There was no margin for error at the back but Mohammad Nawaz, who has been solid throughout the campaign, succumbed to pressure and erred. He parried Rafael Crivellaro's powerful strike right into the path of Lallianzuala Chhangte who had enough time to leave a thank you note before he placed the ball into the net.
Minutes later, the Goa defence left Chennaiyin's top goalscorer unmarked inside the box and it was a bad mistake. Nerijus Valskis headed in Chennaiyin's second and the scoreline read 2-2.
Edu Bedia, who had replaced an injured Hugo Boumous in the first half, and Mourtada Fall scored in the last 10 minutes as a result of constant pressure in and around the visitor's box. But Goa had left themselves too much work to do by the end of the two-legged tie. That too, against a spirited Chennaiyin led by Owen Coyle.