Goa: Punjab FC went down to FC Goa by a solitary goal in their second match of the Indian Super League 2023-24 season which was played here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Fatorda. Carlos Martinez first half goal was enough for the home side to secure their first victory of the season.
Punjab FC Head Coach Staikos Vergetis made one change to the starting lineup from the previous match bringing in Krishnananda Singh in place of Prasanth K Mohan. FC Goa Head Coach Manuel ‘Manolo’ Marquez named a very strong side for his team’s first match of the season in front of a sizeable home crowd. Both teams lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
Both teams tried to maintain possession in the middle of the park in the initial minutes of the match. Punjab FC midfielders showed more energy as FC Goa showed some rustiness as it was their first match of the season. But it was the home side that took the lead in the 17th minute of the game through Carlos Martinez. Raynier Fernandes and Carl Mchugh combined together to set Carlos Martinez free and the Spaniard finished expertly past Kiran Kumar to give the Gaurs the lead.
The home side got a chance soon to double the lead but Noah Sadaoui’s effort hit the side netting. FC Goa started to pile the pressure on Punjab FC, as Brandon Fernandes started to get more involved in the game. He took advantage of a confusion between Melroy Assisi and Khaimingthang Lhungdim and crossed towards Carlos Martinez who’s headed deflected out of Nikhil.
The first real chance for Punjab FC came in the 37th minute as Juan Mera forced a save out of FC Goa keeper Arshdeep Singh and the rebound fell for Krishnananda Singh who could not capitalize on the chance. The Shers goalkeeper Kiran Kumar made sure the score line stays the same before the half making a brilliant save from Raynier’s shot from outside the box.
The second half also started in the same way as the first, with both teams trying to manage the game. Both teams were finding it difficult to create any clear cut chances as the game was mostly played in the middle of the park with FC Goa slowing down the speed of the game. Luka Majcen thought he had equalized for the Shers but his goal was wrongly flagged offside by the referees, denying the equalizer for Punjab FC.
Both managers brought in the changes at the hour mark, introducing fresh legs in the pitch. Madih Talal tested the Goa keeper from outside the box. Punjab FC was attacking the Goa box with substitute Wilmar Jordan Gill providing more attacking options to find the equalizer. Prasanth’s pace down the right wing created troubled for the Goa defence as his low cross fizzed past Jordan who could not put the finishing touches to the ball. Kiran Kumar made an acrobatic save in the injury time from Victor Rodriguez. Punjab FC continued to put the Goa defence under pressure but it was seen out well without danger by Sandesh Jhingan and Odei Onaindia.
Punjab FC will face North East United FC in their next game on October 6th, which will be their first home game of the season that will be played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi.