ISL: Goa enhance playoffs chances with 5-1 rout of ATK
Margao, March 1 FC Goa thrashed ATK 5-1 here on Wednesday to enhance their chances of a playoffs berth by moving to fourth position in the points table of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Manuel Lanzarote (15th, 21th) scored a quickfire first-half brace as Sergio Juste (10th), Ferran Corominas (64th) and Mark Sifneos (90th) also got on the scoresheet to complete the rout.
For the visitors, star Irishman Robbie Keane got a consolation goal in the 87th minute.
The visiting side was never really in the game as Goa took a three-goal lead within the first 20-odd minutes of the game.
It was all downhill from there on for the defending champions who now find themselves languishing ninth in the points table.
FC Goa have 27 points from 17 matches, one clear of fifth placed Jamshedpur FC who are also vying for the fourth and only qualification spot left.
The two teams face off on Sunday in what will be a decisive match. With Goa notching up the win, Kerala Blasters are out of the contention for playoffs.
The Jamshedpur and Goa match on Sunday will decide the forth spot. A win here will pave way for either of the team to qualify, however Goa could make it with a draw as well.
Bengaluru FC, FC Pune City and Chennaiyin FC have already made the cut.
ATK had made a good start but Goa took the lead when Hugo Boumous’ corner was met by Juste’s header. That opened the floodgates and five minutes later, Soram Poirei’s save from Mandar Rao Dessai’s curling effort went into the path of Lanzarote, who scored with a neat finish.
Goa tripled their lead soon after. Pronoy Halder played a glorious diagonal ball to Lanzarote who brought it down expertly, zipped past Ashutosh Mehta and found the far corner with a sweet shot.
Corominas had a chance to score within minutes but the cross from Narayan Das was just over his leap. He eventually scored in the second half from a clever freekick to make it 4-0.
ATK had some chances to score scattered throughout the 90 minutes. First Sibongakonke Mbatha blazed over at the half-time mark and then Keane had two chances in quick succession in the second period.
His first was a typically instinctive attempt to finish from a volley played at a tight angle and the second was a high flick which almost went in. When he finally scored, it was after dancing past two defenders to get a consolation from a deflection which went in off the post.
Sifneos capitalised on a poor header backwards from ATK centre-back Anwar Ali, and finished with full marks as he raced away one-on-one. Lanzarote, Boumous and Sifneos combined in the dying seconds, making a mockery of ATK’s defence, but added to the comedy when they couldn’t finish.
This was the third time FC Goa have scored five goals in a match this ISL.