FC Goa got their act together after a couple of win-less outings as they handed Delhi Dynamos an embarrassing 4-1 defeat, riding on Youness Bengelloun’s twin strikes in an Indian Super League encounter, here on Thursday.
The victory couldn’t have come at a better time as it kept them in the reckoning for a semi-final berth in the cash-rich league.
Bengelloun scored in the 18th and 48th minute while captain Robert Pires and Australian striker Tolgay Ozbey scored one apiece, in the 53rd and 60th minutes respectively.
Gustavo Santos pulled one back for the hosts, when he converted from the spot in the 73rd minute, but that was just a consolation goal as was evident from the faces of the disappointed Delhi fans and players.
The victory, a very important one for FC Goa, finally put an end to the visiting side’s search for three points, their second in the tournament, while extending Dynamos’ winless run.
The Dynamos have now slipped to the bottom following four draws, three losses and a solitary win, while Goa improved a rung to move upto seventh spot with four defeats, two draws and as many wins in the eight-team franchise-based tournament.
The Goa outfit went ahead when Frenchman Bengelloun found the net almost halfway into the first half.
The second goal came as Andre Santos delivered a cross for Bengelloun, which the former Paris Saint Germain ‘B’ team defended gleefully headed home.
The visitors slammed the door on chances of a Dynamos comeback when Pires converted from the spot after Tolgay Ozbey, who was through with ball, was felled by Delhi’s giant shotstopper Kristof Van Hout.
Tolgay completed the rout in the 60th minute, dribbling past a series of Dynamos defenders before successfully finding the back of the net at the JLN Stadium, which witnessed a paltry turnout.
The about 6000-odd turnout was the worst in the tournament, which is otherwise creating new scales in in-stadia audience, when compared to other to leagues in Asia. Bengelloun first scored off a rebound after Gregory Arnolin’s header was kept out by the tall Dynamos goalkeeper Kristof Van Hout. The initial move began with a Andre Santos corner that landed on the feet of Robert Pires, who gave it to Bikramjeet Singh to make the final cross from the right.
The Dynamos had an outside chance to equalise a few minutes later but Robert Lalthlamuana’s volley off a cross from the right narrowly misses the right side of the post. Lalthlamuana’s approach before taking the shot though seemed a bit casual.
Besides, there was also a cross from the right by Steven Dias but Morten Skoubo could not reach the ball in time.
The Dynamos were certainly not lacking as far as build-up was concerned but, as has been their wont in the inaugural edition of the franchise-based league so far, could not make it count upfront.
A lot like in their previous matches, the Dynamos looked decent in the midfield, managing to string together a host of moves that looked like they would culminate in goals, but lacked ideas when it came to converting the opportunities into goals.
The defenders could not tackle the Goa assault for long, gradually losing the plot to concede four times in the game.
The visitors were much better when it came to making the most of the chances that came their way, a far cry from their opponents. Leading the side from the front Frenchman Pires, a legend at EPL giants Arsenal, marshalled the midfield effectively and was there whenever his team needed him.
There was a time when he decided to drop deep, to ensure that his team don’t give away the advantage.
There was much better coordination between the midfielders and strikers in the Goa line-up and the defenders were upto the mark. They succeeded in not letting the Dynamos players of the hook.
Standing in for regular coach Harm Van Veldhoven, Mark Luijpers had dubbed it a ‘revenge match’ following the Dynamos’ 0-1 defeat away in Goa. As the result shows, it boomeranged on the Dynamos team that is virtually out of reckoning.