Zico outsmarted Roberto Carlos in a tactical battle between two distinguished Brazilian football brains, as hosts FC Goa kickstarted their Indian Super League (ISL) 2015 journey with a 2-0 win over Delhi Dynamos on Sunday.
A Souvik Chakraborty own goal and Reinaldo scored for the home team in the first half at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Goa got a dream start much to the delight of the decent turnout when an own goal from Souvik, pressurised by Man of the Match midfielder Mandar Rao Desai, put them ahead as early as the third minute of the match, even before the Dynamos defence, led by marquee player Norweigian John Arne Riise in an unfamiliar centre-back position, could settle down.
Winger Romeo Fernandes set up the goal with an intelligent run on the right flank. He entered the box, went to the byline and then cut back his pass across the face of goal. Under pressure from midfielder Desai, Chakraborty put the ball in the net trying to effect a clearance.
The early goal facilitated a brisk start to the proceedings as Dynamos pushed forward stung by it.
Frenchman Florent Malouda, another star signing, was the heart of all their moves, alongside industrious central midfielder Hans Mulder. Dynamos employed a through the middle approach to score as Malouda tried to weave his way past Goa defenders several times.
Goa, contrastingly, tried to spread their attacks on their pacy wingers, particularly the nippy Fernandes on the right flank.
The pace of the game slowed down considerably as the hot and humid conditions began to take a toll on the players. But it didn’t stop Goa from doubling their lead.
After getting a foul just on the edge of the right side of the penalty area, the resultant free-kick was driven in hard for Brazilian striker Reinaldo Da Cruz Oliveira to poke it in.
Dynamos’ marquee player-coach Brazilian legend was visibly agitated at the disjointed performance of his team in the first half and brought himself in, replacing Mulder in the second session.
Dynamos’ attack got some purpose after his introduction and was denied by the post twice in the 54th minute. Riise’s curving, dipping left footer hit the outside of the left post and Malouda’s header, off the rebound, struck the right post.
But it was not all Dynamos in the second session as Goa looked to soak up the pressure applied to them and score on the break.
They did create openings launching into swift counter attacks but couldn’t convert those chances as the pace of the proceedings dipped.
As minutes passed, Dynamos ran out of ideas and Carlos was restricted to attempting long range shots from outside the area.
Goa next face Atletico de Kolkata in another home match on October 7 while Dynamos play against Chennaiyin FC in their home match a day later.