Mumbai players celebrate after the equaliser
Mumbai players celebrate after the equaliser

Fatorda: FC Goa faced off against Mumbai City FC in the semifinals of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) and were held to a 2-2 draw in the first leg.

Without the services of Ivan Gonzalez and Alberto Noguera due to suspension, Head Coach Juan Ferrando chose to bring back Seriton Fernandes and Jorge Ortiz to the starting lineup, with both players keen to make an impact.

Once the action began, it was FC Goa who started the brighter of the two, with Saviour Gama looking lively down the left and even forcing an early save from Mumbai City custodian Amrinder Singh within the first five minutes.

That early pressure was telling, and just over ten minutes later Alexander Romario went down in the box following a challenge by Vignesh Dakshinamurthy, but the referee waved play on.

It made little difference however as the Gaurs did win a penalty just minutes after, as Jorge Ortiz was brought down by Mandar Rao Dessai.

Igor Angulo stepped up for Goa and calmly slotted the ball home to give his side a vital advantage in the first leg of the two legged tie.

The goal sparked Mumbai into life, and following a brilliant save from Dheeraj Singh from a Bartholomew Ogbeche strike, the Islanders equalised thanks to Hugo Boumous.

The former Gaur reacted quickest after the ball fell to his feet, and he smashed the ball into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.

Ortiz had yet another penalty appeal waved away towards the end of the first half, while Dheeraj was called into action at the other end following a header from Ogbeche, but the Goa number one was equal to the task for the second time in the game.

The game was all square at the break after an eventful first period, and it started with a bang again in the second half as Mumbai piled on the pressure and nearly scored within minutes of the restart via Ogbeche.

Thankfully for Goa, the striker blazed his shot over the bar but the Islanders were clearly looking threatening.

Gradually, the Gaurs grew back into the game, and just before the hour mark another marauding run from Saviour Gama led to a venomous strike on goal that proved too much for Amrinder Singh to stop and flew into the back of the net, making it 2-1 to Goa.

That excitement hardly lasted a minute however as Mourtada Fall came back to haunt the Men in Orange as he got on the end of an Ahmed Jahouh cross to nod home the equaliser and make it 2-2.

The game was more or less level in all areas for the remainder of the contest, but it was clear that this was a tie that had goals written all over it.

In the final moments of the game, Princeton Rebello was fouled by Mourtada Fall and replays showed that the big central defender flew in with both feet off the ground, but the referee only booked the former FC Goa man.

That turned out to be the last meaningful action of the game, and we were treated to four goals on the night, and perhaps plenty more in the near future as this tie spills into the second leg with all to play for.

The second leg of this semifinal will be played on 8 March at 7:30 PM IST at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim.

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