Goals in the 88th and 90th minute helped semis-bound Kerala Blasters escape with a point as FC Goa ended their Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 season a disappointing ninth. (More Football News)
After an early double from Jorge Pereyra Diaz (10', 25'p), Airam Cabrera hit a sensational second-half hat-trick (49', 63'p, 82') gave FC Goa 4-2 lead with Aibanbha Dohling (79') sneaking in one for himself in the midst.
But Ivan Vukomanovic's Blasters found a brace in the dying minutes through Vincy Barreto and Alvaro Vazquez to end the league stage with a fighting draw. They will enter the semi-finals as the fourth-place team, with 34 points (nine wins, seven draws and four defeats).
Jamshedpur FC, Hyderabad FC and three-time champions ATK Mohun Bagan are the three teams in the semis.
The semis draw will be confirmed after Monday's final league game between Jamshedpur and ATK Mohun Bagan.
Less than 24 hours after Kerala Blasters FC qualified for the ISL 2021-22 semis without kicking a ball, the Yellow Army were tested to the hilt by FC Goa. Hat-trick hero Cabrera and Aibanbha Dohling both came off the bench to score for Goa and they were cruising despite Diaz's early brace which gave Kerala a 2-0 lead.
Sahal Abdul Samad, fresh off his goal from midweek turned assist-provided - his first of the season. The midfielder intercepted a ball, initially passed to Anwar Ali by the wicketkeeper Hrithik Tiwari. A timed cross into the box and Diaz slid the ball into the net, breaking the deadlock. And Kerala were 1-0 up.
Anwar was at fault again for the second goal, giving away the ball easily to Chencho Gyeltshen who ran into the box with just the 'keeper to beat. Tiwari made himself big but tripped the Bhutanese forward, gifting Blasters a penalty.
Diaz made no mistake from the spot, sending Tiwari the wrong way. It brought up his 8th goal of the season, second of the night, and also fourth in the last three matches for Blasters.
Despite the intensity of the clash, FC Goa got only a quarter of possession and got no shots on the target. FC Goa boss Derrick Pereira made three changes and the change of ends provided immediate answers.
Edu Bedia's freekick was deflected by Ivan Gonzalez into space and Cabrera, who had just come off the bench guided the ball home to half the deficit.
Past the hour mark, Givson Moirangthem gave away a penalty by bringing down Makan Winkle Chothe in the box and Cabrera took it with glee to level the scores. Only minutes ago, Diaz had missed a golden opportunity to score a hat-trick at the other end.
Dohling scored a goal that gave Goa the lead for the first time in the night off a long ball from Anwar. The defender was unmarked, breezed his way into the box, and took an angled shot that rendered Prabhsukhan Gill helpless.
Devendra Murgaonkar provided the cutting pass for Cabrera to bring up his maiden ISL hat-trick. Late on, Barreto and Vazquez were sent in from the bench to score a goal each to level scores before the final whistle.