THE BLOG BY CPD FOOTBALL | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

FC Goa go down fighting to Hatta Club

FC Goa v Hatta Club
FC Goa v Hatta Club

Photo courtesy: FC Goa

FC Goa scored two late goals through Reinaldo and Victor Simoes as they suffered a 2-4 defeat to Hatta Club at the Hatta Stadium to conclude their Dubai pre-season sojourn, on Sunday.

After the match against Al Jazeera Club was cancelled due to the untimely demise of Sheikh Rashid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, son of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE, FC Goa were awarded the opportunity to play their final friendly in Dubai against Hatta Club.

The prior matches resulted in a 2-2 draw against Al Khaleej, while the 2-1 win over Al Shabab on Tuesday was the only win in the four fixtures eventually played in Dubai.

Zico fielded almost a similar starting line-up that drew 1-1 against Ajman Club on on Wednesday, with Laxmikant Kattimani returning in goal in place of Elinton Andrade who were handed starts in alternate matches; the same was the case for most of the squad.

Both Hatta and Goa began the tie on the offensive note with Kattimani requiring to make an early save while Darryl Duffy was handed a good chance by Narayan Das in the 23rd minute but only for the Scottish striker to be robed of possession in the center of the box.

Three minutes later, Hatta scored their first goal of the evening before Reinaldo’s header off a Jofre Mateu Gonsalvez corner was saved by the UAE Division 1 team’s goalkeeper in the 33rd minute.

Kattimani held his ground in another attempt by the team known as Tornado in the next minute and then Gregory Arnolin saw his header go wide of the target after being found by Léo Moura.

Goa’s second disappointment before the half-time break was caused by a mix up between Arnolin and Das which the home team took advantage of to make it 2-0 in the 37th minute.

Hatta Club right away resumed the second half with a third goal and held with a strong backline to keep the Goans frustrated despite Jofre’s curling free-kick coming ever so close to finding the back of the net in the 58th minute.

Brazilian-born Portuguese goalkeeper Andrade, who made 67 saves in six matches in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup, replaced Kattimani at the hour mark but that didn’t stop the home side from scoring their fourth goal in the 64th minute.

Zico’s team continued to rue their missed chances as Romeo Fernandes narrowly failed to find the target after being setup by Reinaldo.

However, a consolation goal eventually came for FC Goa in the 74th minute as Reinaldo converted after getting on the end of a good pass by substitute Mandar Rao Dessai.

The ISL team continued their fight back in the match with another goal in a matter of minutes. Victor Simoes, who replaced Reinaldo, stepped up to score from the 12 yard mark in the 86th minute after he was brought down in the Hatta box for a penalty.

FC Goa showed a promise similar to the comeback in last season’s ISL wherein they finished as semi-finalists after languishing at the bottom of the standings at one stage of the tournament in its inaugural edition.

Zico and Co. will return to Goa on September 22, 2015 for their penultimate stage preparations ahead of the upcoming ISL Season 2 wherein the Goans host Delhi Dynamos FC on October 4 in their first fixture.