Delhi, 11 December 2015: FC Goa succumbed a 1-0 loss to Delhi Dynamos FC in the first leg of the semifinals between the two teams played at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Delhi, on Friday evening.
Robin Singh’s 42nd minute goal made the difference as the two teams head into the second leg of the semifinals in Goa on 15 December with the Delhi franchise leading 1-0 on aggregate.
Both coaches changed more than half of their first 11 from the last time the two teams faced each other in the league stage of the competition wherein the visitors came back from two goals down in the first half to win 3-2.
Roberto Carlos had Antonio Doblas Santana in goal with Gustavo dos Santos Marmentini pairing with Florent Malouda in the midfield with a front pair of Adil Nabi and Robin.
Zico’s starting lineup included Leo Moura, who was back from suspension, alongside Jofre Mateu Gonzalez while Gregory Arnolin returned to marshal the defense with Lucio. Reinaldo da Cruz Oliveira and CS Sabeeth were the two attackers.
Laxmikant Kattimani was relieved to see Malouda’s shot go wide in the fifth minute, moments before Shylo Malsawmtluanga hit the side netting and while the away team struggled to create early openings, Sabeeth was not able to direct his header on target from Jofre cross from the left in the 12th minute.
The Dynamos continued to surge ahead with more intent in the following minutes until Zico decided to throw in Romeo Fernandes in place of Raju Gaikwad in the 34th minute in an attempt to spruce things up.
A minute after Dos Santos missed a sitter, tapping wide Nabi’s cross the left from handshaking distance, Robin rose above all to nod in Anderson Sebastiao Cardoso’s delivery from the right to give Delhi the lead in the 42nd minute following a poor first half by the Goans.
Five minutes in the second half, Dos Santos broke out on the counter but Nabi’s eventual shot missed the left post by not much, which was after Sabeeth headed wide on the other side following a deflection off Reinaldo from Jofre’s free-kick.
In another counter led by Dos Santos at the hour mark, working well with Nabi, Malsawmluanga sent his touch wide from inside the box while trying to curl the ball in the top right corner.
Rafael Coelho Luiz, who replaced Reinaldo, had a good chance to equalise in the 66th minute. However, the Brazilian’s first touch off Jofre’s pass fell too kindly for Delhi goalkeeper Doblas.
Malouda had the ball sent through to him by Malsawmluanga at the left near post but the former shot wide from close range.
Moura’s shot on target off Romeo’s setup somehow stuck to the feet of Doblas in the 75th minute as luck too clearly wasn’t on the side of FC Goa on the night.
Kattimani had to pull off saves to deny Dos Santos and Robin late in the match Rafael headed wide Jonatan Lucca’s cross from the left from inside the box in the 85th minute and two minutes later, Rafael’s pass slipped towards Moura saw the latter blast his shot in the orbit when the visitors still had an opportunity to salvage a draw.