Atlético de Kolkata defeat Goa after penalty shootout
After the incident-packed, exhilarating first semi-final, the second one had an equally dramatic ending, with the Hero Indian Super League witnessing its first-ever penalty shootout. At the end of a game which ended 0-0 at full time and also extra time, Atlético de Kolkata held their nerve to defeat FC Goa 4-2 in the tie-breaker, setting up a cracking final against Kerala Blasters FC on December 20 at Navi Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium.
Josemi, Mohammed Rafi, Jofre and Borja Fernández all successfully converted their spot kicks for the visitors while only Tolgay Ozbey and Clifford Miranda bulged the net for the hosts, with André Santos firing wide and Zohib Amiri hitting the crossbar.
Both teams started cautiously, aware of the high stakes of this game. Kolkata were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure as Goa looked to use their wingers to good effect. Goa captain Grégory Arnolin came closest to scoring for the hosts in the 20th minute as Miroslav Slepička found the Frenchman’s head from a shot at goal, with only a reflex save from Kolkata keeper Apoula Edel Bete denying Goa the lead. Edel did seem to suffer a strain as the half wore on, with Josemi taking up the duties of taking goal kicks. Goa had to make an early substitution too, with Sheikh Jewel Raja coming on for Peter Carvalho, who was labouring with a strain.
The second half begun with Goa on the front foot, with Romeo Fernandes driving forward from the kick-off itself and letting loose with a shot from just outside the box. Kolkata’s defence continued to soak up the pressure, standing firm against Goa’s constant attacks. Santos had a penalty shout denied and then Edel came up with a stunning save to keep out the Brazilian’s shot soon after.
Chances were few and far between after that, however, with the pattern of the game remaining the same – Goa dominating possession and putting plenty of attacking pressure, but not quite unlocking Kolkata’s defence. Ultimately, however, neither side could break the deadlock. The second semi-final, just like the first, was headed into extra time.
Kolkata were the more enterprising in the first half of extra time, putting the Goa back line under sustained pressure for the first time. At the other end, Goa nearly went ahead, but Mandar Rao Desai’s low shot was too close to Edel.
Santos took the responsibility of taking the first penalty for Goa but booted it high over the bar. Kolkata defender Josemi made sure his side took immediate advantage. Özbey and local legend Miranda converted their efforts, but Amiri missed in between. Mohammed Rafi and Jofre’s successful penalties for Kolkata left Spanish midfielder Borja with the task of putting his side through to the final. He made no mistake, beating Goa keeper Jan Šeda with a superb shot into the roof of the net.
Hero of the match: André Santos (FC Goa)
Swift Moment of the Match: Apoula Edel Bete (Atlético de Kolkata)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Mandar Rao Desai (FC Goa)