It was a Hugo Boumous brace at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda that ensured the Gaurs grab all three points after a hard fought game against Kerala Blasters in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).
FC Goa boss Sergio Lobera made two changes to the side that lost to ATK last time out, with fit again Jackichand Singh replacing Manvir Singh and Brandon Fernandes returning to the starting eleven after a one-game suspension.
The changes paid dividends from the opening whistle, as the Gaurs attacked Kerala from the get-go.
Goa’s top scorer Coro put the ball in the back of the net in the first ten minutes itself, but the linesman’s flag went up, frustrating the fans inside the stadium who had already started celebrating.
It mattered little in the context of the game however, as the Men in Orange controlled possession throughout the first period and got their goal in the 26th minute after a cross from Mandar Rao Dessai was turned home from close range by Hugo Boumous.
The calm finish marked Hugo’s fifth goal of the campaign, and was a well deserved one for the Gaurs too, who didn’t take their foot off the gas.
The second goal came towards the end of the first half and put FC Goa in a commanding position in the game, and the home fans had the returning Jackichand Singh to thank for a touch of pure class.
A ball into the box from the right by Coro was amazingly turned into the back of the net via the right foot of Jacki, who expertly guided the ball past Rehenesh in the Kerala goal to make it 2-0.
Goa were well in control at the break with their two-goal lead, but started the second half on the backfoot, and paid for a lapse in concentration just after the restart.
The defence together pushed forward ever so slightly, allowing Raphael Messi Bouli to receive the ball unmarked, and he made no mistake, slotting the ball past Mohammad Nawaz.
The deficit was halved at the time, but it got better for Kerala Blasters a little while later, as a corner was headed home by Bartholomew Ogbeche for the Tuskers’ second goal of the night.
The equaliser appeared to galvanise the Gaurs, who fought back immediately, and after some sustained pressure, the moment finally came.
It was a bit of French magic from Hugo Boumous that saved the day for the Goans, as the midfielder hit a first time volley after a pass from Ahmed Jahouh.
The ball flew into the back of the net and the stadium erupted in joy, acknowledging the masterclass from Boumous.
The rest of the game was managed well by the Gaurs and they saw it out to leave the Fortress with all three points and a place back at the top of the ISL table.