MARGAO: Zico’s gamble of fielding an untested back-three with three leading international defenders on the bench backfired spectacularly as Delhi Dynamos handed FC Goa their third successive defeat at home when they coasted to a 2-0 win at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday.
The FC Goa chief coach was forced to spice things up after finding his team at the bottom of the pool with just one win in six matches. Not surprisingly, he opted for an attacking 3-4-3 formation with Brazilian strikers Julio Cesar and Rafael Coelho playing together for the first time. But while Goa had the numbers up front and some decent chances too, Delhi Dynamos caught Goa napping with lightning quick counters.
Substitute Marcelinho first came off the bench to give Delhi Dynamos the lead in the 72nd minute and four minutes later when Richard Gadze made it 2-0, the writing was on the wall. People left their seats, and the stadium, before the referee could blow the final whistle. Whether it’s all over in the league remains to be seen: FC Goa had just five points at the end of the first leg in the first edition but still managed to make it to the semi-finals, but, unarguably, this team lacks the belief and character of the first two teams, championed by players like Andre dos Santos (2014) and Leo Moura (2015).
Delhi Dynamos, who were knocked out of the semifinals last year at the same venue, have resurrected their chances of making it to the top four. They now have 10 points from seven matches and should be reasonably pleased with the third spot.
Goa had the best chances of the opening 45 minutes and nobody would have raised an eyebrow if they had their noses in front. A fifth minute counter-attack saw Julio Cesar and Joffre Gonzalez create an opening for Rafael, but even though the Brazilian striker lifted the ball over onrushing Delhi goalkeeper Toni Doblas, defender Anas Edathodika ran the race of his life to clear the ball just inches away from goal.