Margao (Goa), Jan 29 (IANS) FC Goa, reduced to 10 men after captain Edu Bedia was sent off in the 66th minute, managed to see off a thrilling fightback from East Bengal as the two teams played out a 1-1 draw in the Indian Super League (ISL) on Friday at the Fatorda Stadium.
Goa took the lead through Igor Angulo’s 39th-minute goal while East Bengal captain skipper Daniel Fox scored the equaliser in the 65th minute.
The first half was an open affair with chances being created at both ends. However, Goa went into the break with a one-goal advantage after punishing East Bengal for a defensive error.
There was drama early on after East Bengal were awarded a controversial penalty in the second minute. The referee pointed to the spot after Narayan Das was tripped by Mohamed Ali. Anthony Pilkington stepped up to take the penalty and sent Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh the wrong way but blasted his effort wide.
Goa tried to make inroads after surviving the early scare but missed their chances. Meanwhile, East Bengal grew into the game as it progressed, applying constant pressure on the Goa backline but weren’t clinical in the final third.
Goa came close to increasing their advantage during the closing stages of the first half through a free-kick. Jorge Ortiz Mendoza curled the ball towards the top corner but East Bengal goalkeeper Debjit Majumder displayed great awareness by managing to get a finger-tip save, which brushed the crossbar before going out.
After missing chances early on, a defensive lap from East Bengal handed Goa the lead. Princeton Rebello won the ball in midfield and found Alberto Noguera, who played a sublime through ball for Angulo in the box. The Spaniard rounded off Majumder before slotting into an empty net, extending his lead at the top of the goal-scoring charts.
The second half belonged to East Bengal. It was another defensive mistake that ended up in a goal, this time in favour of East Bengal after Bright Enobakhare won a free-kick. Pilkington fired a low cross into the box and Dheeraj fluffed his lines, allowing Fox to pounce on the loose ball and blast home from close range.
There was more misery for Goa moments later after Edu Bedia was sent off for a second yellow card after the hour mark. With a numerical advantage on their side, East Bengal piled pressure on Goa. They fashioned a great chance during the 74th minute but Dheeraj produced a fine save to keep Goa alive.
Das whipped a cross into the box for Harmanpreet Singh, who aimed a shot at the keeper with just one touch from close range. However, Dheeraj was alert and got a hand to the shot.