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  • Durand Cup: FC Goa down Downtown Heroes to take top spot in Group D

Durand Cup: FC Goa down Downtown Heroes to take top spot in Group D

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FC Goa – 3 (Nemil 19’ Carlos.M 38’ Devendra 90+7)                                Downtown Heroes FC – 0

Guwahati: Two first half goals by Muhammed Nemil and Carlos Martinez and a second half injury time goal by Devendra Murgaokar helped FC Goa beat Downtown Heroes FC 3-0 in a Group D fixture of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup played here at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium. FC Goa have taken the top spot in the group with seven points with a positive goal difference of nine. This is the second straight defeat for Downtown Heroes in the tournament and they will face Northeast Unted in their final group game which will decide the automatic qualifier for the knockouts from the group. 

All 43 games of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup are being telecast LIVE on Sony Sports Ten 2 channels as well as livestreamed on SonyLIV 

FC Goa Head Coach Gouramangi Singh made seven changes to the starting lineup with Udanta Singh, Odei Onaindia, Carlos Martinez and Rowllin Borges retaining their place for the must win encounter for a place in the quarterfinals. Downtown Heroes Head Coach Hilal Rasool Parray set his team in a 3-5-2 formation and made two changes to the side from their previous match. Zubair Ahad Akhoon came in for Raphael Bidias Rim and Goalkeeper Imran Arshid replaced Paramjit Baghel.

FC Goa as expected dominated proceedings in the middle but were met by a determined Downtown Heroes defence. The side from Kashmir did not provide much gaps for the Gaur’s attack to breach. Muhammed Nemil had the first chance to score after being set up by Noah Sadaoui. Noah’s cross reached Nemil after a dummy by Udanta Singh, but Nemil’s effort went above the bar. Noah Sadoui’s effort later was saved by the Downtown Heroes keeper Imran Arshid.

The Downtown Heroes resilience was broken in the 19th minute by Goa. Carlos Martinez set up Nemil beautifully with a back heel pass and the latter’s left footed shot found the bulged the net giving the lead for the Gaurs. FC Goa continued to press hard and were looking dangerous from every attack. The second goal came in the 38th minute through Carlos Martinez. He headed in a perfect cross from Udanta Singh from the right wing to beat the Downtown Heroes keeper.

FC Goas Sandesh Jhingan centre heading the ball clear

The Gaurs could have finished the half with more goals to their name but for the brilliant saves by the seventeen year old Downtown Heroes keeper Imran Arshid. Noah, Udanta and Carlos Martinez were denied by the keeper to keep the scoreline 2-0 at the break.

FC Goa started the second half from where they had left in the first half. Noah Sadaoui was continuously troubling the Downtown Heroes defence with his runs down the left flank. Carlos Martinez missed a couple of chances to increase Goa’s lead and also add to his personal tally.

On the other end, Downtown Heroes approached their attacks in a different way with the introduction of Aafreen Basharat Parray. His pacey runs down the left flank created chances for the side from Kashmir to score but it was not converted by the forwards. Parvaj Bhuiya could have opened the scoring for his team, as he had a couple of chances but could not trouble Goa keeper Hrithik Tiwari. If he had maintained his composure in the final third, the score line could have been different.

Victor Rodriguez also had a couple of chances to add to the Gaur’s score line but could not make the best use of them. Devendra Murgaokar’s goal late into injury time finished off the game and secured three points for the Gaurs. Noah’s attempted chip past Downtown Heroes keeper went wayward but the keeper spilled the ball which was tapped into the goal by Devendra.

Double Header Tomorrow

Jamshedpur FC will take on Indian Navy FT tomorrow in a Group B encounter at the Mohun Bagan Ground at 3 PM. Both teams will look to open their account in the tournament as they had lost their opening matches.

In the second match of the day Indian Army FT will take on local side Bodoland FC at the SAI Stadium, Kokrajhar at 6 PM. Indian Army will look for their second consecutive victory in the tournament while Bodoland FC will want to continue their resilient effort which they had shown in the opening match which they lost by a goal.

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