FC Goa scored a late equaliser to hold Odisha FC to a 1-1 draw in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Tuesday.
Jonathas Cristian converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute to give the Bhubaneswar-based side the lead but Alexander Jesuraj (90+4′) scored an equaliser within five minutes of coming on as a substitute to earn his side a crucial point.
Derrick Pereira’s side started the better of the two teams, bossing the possession and creating chances, the first of which fell to Airam Cabrera who already has scored three goals this season. Makan Chothe played the Spaniard through on the right side but he couldn’t keep his shot on target in the 6th minute.
Five minutes later, The Gaurs wasted another chance to get on the scoresheet when Brandon Fernandes’s long ball found Alberto Noguera around the six-yard box. However, Noguera couldn’t generate enough power in his shot and the ball went just wide of the target.
Odisha FC missed a chance to go in front in the 26th minute when a long ball from Odisha FC’s half got to the foot of Aridai Suarez and the 33 years-old winger passed the ball towards Liridon Krasniqi who tried to slot the ball home but the subsequent shot was denied by the goalkeeper.
Odisha FC then had a corner just before a minute from the interval, but the they failed to convert it into a goal. Both teams went into half-time deadlocked at 0-0.
Jonathas and Lalruatthara came on in the second half for Lalhrezuala Sailung and Krasniqi but it was the Gaurs who created the first chance in the 51st minute when Chothe smashed it against the woodwork from an Edu Bedia pass.
Odisha FC were eventually rewarded with a goal from Jonathas in the 61st minute when they were given a penalty for a harsh tackle by Noguera in the box on Javi Hernandez. Six minutes later, after taking the lead Kino Garcia brought on another substitute as Isaac Chhakchhuak got replaced by Paul Ramfangzauva.
Odisha FC held their advantage going into the water break and that forced FC Goa head coach Derrick Pereira to bring Devendra Murgaonkar and Saviour Gama for Fernandes and Aiban Dohling.
Garcia’s side had a golden chance to double their lead when a lobbed pass found Jerry Mawihmingthanga completely free inside the penalty area but he tried to lob the ball over Naveen Kumar only to see it hit the crossbar as the chance went begging in the 76th minute.
FC Goa made use of the full allotment of substitution as Princeton Rebello and Makan Chothe were brought off and Muhammed Nemil and Alexander Jesuraj were introduced in the 85th minute. A fewf minutes later, Jesuraj scored the equaliser to rescue a point for FC Goa.
The draw meant FC Goa stayed ninth while Odisha FC moved to seventh spot, level on the points table with 18 points in 14 matches.
Garcia’s men are back in action on Monday when they take on SC East Bengal. FC Goa now enjoys a bit of a break as they face Chennaiyin FC in their next match on February 10.
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