FC Goa became the second side to book their place in the Indian Super League play-offs after a convincing 3-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday.
Quickfire goals in the first half from Ferran Corominas (22nd) and Edu Bedia (25th) and a third by Hugo Boumous (78th) helped the hosts do the double over Kerala.
To make the result all the more sweeter, the Gaurs have leapfrogged Bengaluru FC to go top of the table. Goa has 31 points from 16 games, same as Bengaluru FC but with a better goal difference. On the other hand, Kerala Blasters remain ninth after slumping to their seventh loss of the season.
FC Goa were on the money right from the start as Jackichand Singh threatened the Kerala defence as he twisted and turned the likes of Lalruatthara and Anas Edathodika on a couple of occasions. One of his efforts did beat Dheeraj Singh but the ball hit the post, much to Kerala’s relief.
Kerala then found the back of the net through Slavisa Stojanovic after a quick interplay with Matej Poplatnik. However, the linesman had his flag raised after Courage Pekuson was deemed to be in an offside position.
Goa got a deserved breakthrough midway into the first half through Corominas. Brandon Fernandes’ cross from the left was headed home with ease by the Spaniard after he was afforded a lot of space inside the box by Anas Edathodika and Sandesh Jhingan.
In the 25th minute, Bedia doubled the lead by slotting the ball into an empty net. This was after Anas sent a back-pass to Dheeraj whose clearance was straight at Corominas. The Spaniard took a touch and laid the ball on a platter for Bedia who applied the finishing touch to make matters worse for the visitors.
Goa sealed the victory in the 78th minute when the substitute Boumous dribbled past a couple of players and evaded the challenge from Jhingan to beat Dheeraj at his near post.