Duler: Meldon D’Silva scored in the final minutes as Football Club Goa held Ozone Football Club to an entertaining 1-1 draw in the I-League Second Division match played, at Duler Stadium, Mapusa, on Wednesday.
Brazilian striker Robert De Souza broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute for the Ozone while Meldon D’Silva scored in the added time to level the terms for the Goan side.
Ozone need a win in the next match against Kerala Blasters FC to confirm their place in the final round as they topped the table with 19 points from nine matches while Goan side has just six points from nine outings.
Goan coach Clifford Miranda made four changes to his side which lost to FC Kerala in the last match as keeper Mohammad Nawaz, defenders Lalnunsiama, Saviour Gama and Brian Faria made into the cut for the junior Gaurs, whereas, Brazilian striker Robert De Souza and Goan defender Lenstan Afonso were named in the starting XI by their English coach David Booth after dropping two important points against Fateh Hyderabad AFC in the previous match.
FC Goan had a golden chance to surge ahead in the 7th minute when skipper Liston Colaco was left with just keeper Abhishek Das to beat but the Ozone custodian timely paired it for safety.
A few minutes later, Ozone also came close to scoring as Vinil Poojary tried to find forward Sabeeth Sathyan in the goal mouth with a fine cross from the right but Goan defender Franzil Isaac Negredo cleared it before the striker could reach to it.
Whereas, Ozone custodian came with another fine save, as this time he made an acrobatic effort to deny Jason Barbosa’s powerful strike from 10-yards.
Another chance went into vain for the Bengaluru side in the 39th minutes when their Brazilian forward Robert brilliantly controlled the ball inside the box and fired a powerful shot from close but his strike missed the target by a whisker.
In the closing stage of the match the Goan keeper Nawaz came with two brilliant saves, as he first blocked Vignesh D’sa’s fierce shot from the top of the box off Roberts diagonal pass in the box, while a few minutes later, the Brazilian striker tried his luck from inside the box with overhead kick but the Goan custodian collected the goal bound strike.
After some probing attacks, the visitors finally surged ahead in the 82nd minute when Vignesh Gunashekar made a superb through pass to Robert who easily cut past a defender to enter the box and shot on the goal which hit the far-post before entering the back of the nylons, making it 1-0 for Ozone FC.
When it was looking like the visitors will take away all three points, Meldon brilliantly headed in from close off Liston Colaco’s free-kick to make it all square in the added time. [H]