FC Goa qualified for the playoffs of the Indian Super League after a 3-3 draw against Punjab FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday.

Though neither side won the match, they dished out a classic six-goal thriller for the fans.

The Gaurs ran circles around the Punjab FC defence for the better portion of the first half. Punjab goalkeeper Ravi Kumar had to step into the action frequently, saving a range of efforts both from distance as well as close by.

However, Goa found the opening goal in five minutes courtesy of Carl McHugh. Having won a corner, Borja Herrera curled the ball towards the penalty spot where McHugh volleyed the ball home powerfully.

That was followed by the trio of Raynier Fernandes, Noah Sadaoui and Herrera taking rounds to test the Punjab FC custodian. Sadaoui had set up a slick move for Fernandes in the 24th minute, and the Mumbai-based midfielder did well to shoot with pace on target, but was kept at bay by Ravi.

Goa attacked the Punjab goal immediately in the second half with Sadaoui rattling the crossbar with an attempt from distance. For all their attacking prowess, Goa failed to convert their chances and it came back to haunt them.

Punjab drew level nine minutes into the second half when Luka Majcen and Wilmar Jordan Gil combined in the Goa box for the latter to get an easy tap in. Gil should have had a second goal minutes later but his glancing header from a cross landed just wide of the goal.

The home side took the lead from a clinical counter attack in the 61st minute. Mehdi Talal spotted Majcen’s run and played a good pass. The Punjab striker fired his shot straight over Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.

Sadaoui levelled the score for FC Goa by converting a spot-kick in the 72nd minute, which the Gaurs earned because of Boris Singh and his smart work with his feet inside the box.

The joy of the equaliser didn’t last long for the visitors. Punjab broke down another Goa attack and countered quickly as Talal found Juan Mera on the right wing with a superb first-time pass. A backtracking Jay Gupta could not stop Mera who cut to his left foot just outside the box and curled in a superb shot into the left bottom corner of the goal.

Goa’s relentless attacking finally broke down the Punjab defence as their two goalscorers combined to set up substitute Carlos Martinez. McHugh floated in a delightful ball towards Sadaoui who headed it across goal. Martinez, who had escaped his marker, had the easiest of tap ins to haul Goa level once again.

There was still late drama as Sadaoui‘s free-kick from wide on the left was clawed away off the line by Ravi Kumar even as the Goa players appealed for a goal. Goa, with all their chances, could have sealed a comfortable win but for their defensive errors.