Bengaluru concede playoff race with defeat to FC Goa

Goals From Angulo, Tlang Give Gaurs 2-1 Win; Blues Face Jamshedpur In Final Clash

Bengaluru FC saw their chances of making the 2020-21 Indian Super League playoffs end following a 2-1 defeat to FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa, on Sunday. Goals from Igor Angulo and Redeem Tlang gave the Juan Ferrando-coached side the lead before Suresh Wangjam pulled one back for the Blues. The result meant that Naushad Moosa’s side were mathematically out of the race to make the top four in the League this season.

Both coaches made two changes to their sides ahead of kick-off as Rahul Bheke and Ashique Kuruniyan replaced Harmanjot Khabra and Ajith Kumar for the Blues, while Ferrando chose to start with Edu Bedia and Redeem Tlang ahead of Princeton Rebello and Jorge Ortiz.

Bengaluru had a chance to take an early lead for the second game running when Goa custodian Dheeraj Singh failed to claim the ball from a Parag Shrivas long throw, but Seriton Fernandes managed to clear before Cleiton Silva could poke home. Then twenty minutes in, it was the visitors who broke the deadlock at the Fatorda.

Attempting to build play from behind, Erik Paartalu was dispossessed by Glan Martins outside the box and the Goa midfielder found Igor Angulo with a pass. The Spaniard took a touch before squeezing his shot past a hapless Gurpreet Singh Sandhu. Only three minutes later, the Blues were pegged back once again as Redeem Tlang doubled the lead. Having pressed Xisco Hernandez from clearing Saviour Gama’s cross, Alexander Jesuraj laid the ball down for Tlang, who placed the ball into the far corner.

Bengaluru pushed forward and halved the deficit only ten minutes later when Suresh Wangjam picked the ball down the left flank, skipped past Seriton with his first touch and cut inside before firing his effort in from a tight angle for his first goal in professional football.

The Blues had several chances to get back on level terms before the break when Cleiton Silva saw his header off Ashique’s cross sail wide before another nod from a Xisco set-piece rattled the crossbar. The final chance of the half came from another set-piece when Chhetri saw his flick on from a Xisco free kick go straight into the arms of Goa ’keeper Dheeraj.

The first big chance of the second half fell to Angulo, who managed to beat the offside trap but his attempted dink around an onrushing Gurpreet went wide of the mark. Moosa introduced Dimas Delgado early in the half as the Blues continued to press in their search for an equaliser.

Bengaluru made all the right noises in the second period but lacked the finish as Ashique’s run down the wing at the start of the final quarter and Parag Shrivas’ effort from his low cross were blocked by Ivan Gonzalez.

With the Blues searching for a way back into the game, Goa tried to make the most of space at the back but were denied twice by Gurpreet. The Blues’ no. 1 stood tall to deny Ishan Pandita before going low to keep out Mohamed Ali’s header.

Defeat at the Fatorda meant that Bengaluru dropped out of contention for a place in the Indian Super League playoffs, with their final game of the campaign set to be against Jamshedpur FC, at the Tilak Maidan, on February 25.

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