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The Hat-trick | Late Surge by Goa Sink Hyderabad; Fulham's Game at Spurs Postponed, Premier League Insists Protocols Are Fine; Swansea City to Investigate Booing As Players Took a Knee

The Hat-trick (Top Football News of the Day): Ishan Pandita and Igor Angulo scored late as FC Goa beat Hyderabad FC 2-1 | Fulham’s game vs Tottenham Hotspur postponed hours before kick off, provoking Jose Mourinho anger | Swansea City sees fans boo players taking a knee for second game in a row
Igor Angulo of FC Goa sores against Hyderabad FC

Igor Angulo of FC Goa dribbles past a Hyderabad FC defender before unleashing his match-winner in the 91st minute of their Indian Super League (ISL) match on Wednesday (Pic: FCG, Twitter).

FC Goa came to the party late but they would not mind it since they left Tilak Maidan with full points in their kitty against Hyderabad FC, and climbed to third spot in the Indian Super League (ISL) standings. 

A goal from Ishan Pandita, who scored in the 87th minute from his first touch after coming on as a substitute, and an added time strike [once again] from star goal-poacher Igor Angulo in the 91st-minute handed Goa a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Hyderabad took the lead through their top scorer, Aridane Santana in the 58th minute. Ashish Rai laid out a floating cross from the right flank which Santana received after stepping back away from his marker and into space from where he placed his header into goal. A clinical finish.

Also Read | Made and Minted in I-League, Behold the Young Indian Stars of ISL

Hyderabad looked clinical post that, and looked like they would run away with the points maintaining the 1-0 lead. It was not to be and Manuel Márquez Roca, the coach of Hyderabad FC, blamed himself -- and a botched up tactical substitution -- for the loss.

Roca was possibly referring to the 73rd minute and 89th minute substitutions he made. When his side was leading 1-0, he took out Hitesh Sharma and brought in Francisco Sandaza. And, after Pandita’s equaliser, he took Halicharan Narzary out and brought in Abhishek Halder.   

"If I am the owner [of the club], I would sack the coach. I lost the game with the last sub,” said the Spaniard. “The team was controlling with 4-2-3-1 and the scoreline and we put 4-4-2 and we lost control. Team was not good and it was my fault. I am happy with the attitude of my players. I won't put any excuse on the [lack of] days between the games. I am happy with the performance of my players.”

Roca bucks the trend among managers in the ISL that way. His team, currently eighth in the league, is full of young and exciting Indian talent. And he stood up and took responsibility after a loss. We have had managers blame everything from the I-League to the commute to the ground to the kitchen sink post losses.

Full points went to Juan Ferrando’s Goa for sure. But the respect was earned by Roca in our book.

Fulham's Game at Spurs Postponed

Fulham’s Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur, scheduled to kick off late last night, was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak at the West London club, the league said.

The decision was met with considerable anger by Spurs’ whose manager Jose Mourinho captured his irritation with an Instagram post four hours before the game. Zooming in on a television playing Sky Sports News, Mourinho summed up his feelings by writing: “Match at 6pm … We still don’t know if we play. Best league in the world.”

Also Read | ATK Mohun Bagan Play for a Point, Not To Prove But To Gather

Despite the criticism and the suggestions by several managers that the league pauses itself to take the pressure off clubs, the Premier League said it has no plans to do so.

“The Premier League has not discussed pausing the season,” it said in a statement. “The League continues to have confidence in its Covid-19 protocols to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled, and these protocols continue to have the full backing of the Government. With the health of players and staff the priority, the League is also fully supportive of how clubs are implementing the protocols and rules.”

Meanwhile it has been made clear that there will no longer be any fans in stadiums for fixtures after the government announced that Liverpool will move from tier 2 to tier 3. 

Swansea to investigate booing while taking a knee

Swansea City are set to launch an investigation after their goalless draw with Reading was marred by booing and jeering outside the Liberty Stadium as both teams took the knee before kick-off.

The taking of a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement was followed by a loud series of horns and booing noises heard from a group gathered outside the ground. It is unclear who the group were or what their motives were.

Manager Steve Cooper said that he “heard some noises but I couldn't tell what it was. Let's find out the reasons behind it. In terms of taking the knee we are a club which has continued to commit to it."

Swansea will now look into ensuring the incident does not happen when they host Watford on Saturday. Cooper's men were playing their first game on the new Liberty pitch. The old one had been ripped up before Christmas after it deteriorated badly.

The Welsh side will aim to get to the bottom of the issue after it happened for their second successive home game. The incident comes on the heels of similar cases at Millwall and Cambridge United.

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