Odisha FC’s search for an elusive win continued as they went down 0-1 to FC Goa in their fifth match of the seventh edition of the Indian Super League at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa, on Saturday. And if it wasn’t for Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh‘s brilliant efforts under the crosspiece, the scoreline could have looked more ignominious for Stuart Baxter’s side.
Goa’s Spanish striker Igor Angulo scored the only goal of the match. This was the Spaniard’s sixth goal of the season which took him one clear of Jamshedpur FC’s Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis (5).
With the win, Juan Ferrando’s side continued their revival and jumped to the fourth spot on the 11-team roster while Odisha remained rooted to 10th spot, just above new entrants SC East Bengal. The fact that Odisha failed to manage a single shot on target reflects their plight in the attacking third.
Enjoying lion’s share of possession, close to 70%, Goa had to wait the entire first half to break the deadlock. Despite their superior ball play and high pressing game, the Gaurs couldn’t break the stubborn Odisha defence until the second minute of first-half added time.
Alexander Romario Jesuraj received a long through on the left flank from the centre. He was quick to make a brisk run before sending in a cross in front of the goal which found Angulo. The Spanish striker fooled his marker, Odisha centre-back Jacob Tratt, with a clever first touch with his right foot, which sent the Australian defender off balance, before calmly placing it near the right post with his left.
Earlier in the day, the first chance of the match deservingly came Goa’s way when Angulo tried a looping back header to test Odisha goalkeeper Arshdeep, who was right in his position to jump and collect it near the crossbar.
For Odisha, Arshdeep, who came in place of injured first-choice keeper Kamaljit Singh, had a busy day and the young Chandigarh lad impressed with his alertness and acrobatic, timely saves to prevent Goa from increasing the lead.
In the 64th minute, the 23-year-old made back-to-back saves to first deny Angulo from close range with a left-footed block before quickly rising to keep Jorge Ortiz Mendoza long ranger away from target by flying to his right.
In the dying moments, a full-stretched Arshdeep again came into Odisha’s rescue again when he managed to keep Mendoza’s shot from outside the box, which took a deflection off Odisha captain and centre-back Steven Taylor’s legs, at bay.