Super Cup: Rusty Jamshedpur FC braces up to face FC Goa

Jamshedpur FC will play its first competitive match in 37 days when it takes on FC Goa, the ISL finalist, in the quarterfinal of the Super Cup on Saturday.

Cesar Ferrando (left) and Jesus Tato shake hands in Bhubaneswar ahead of the contest. Photo: AIFF Media

A wary Jamshedpur FC side, playing its first competitive match in 37 days, will take on a wounded Indian Super League (ISL) finalist FC Goa in the quarterfinal of the Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Jamshedpur will be battling for match sharpness when it takes the field after I-League side Churchill Brothers handed a walkover in their round-of-16 match. The team resumed training 10 days after its final ISL match of the season and has been putting in the hard yards during the long break, stressed coach Cesar Ferrando.

“It’s a difficult match for us because, after the ISL, we haven’t played a competitive game,” said Ferrando. “We are now going to play against the runner-up of last season. They play very well and score a lot of goals but my team is ready for them and can demonstrate to win the trophy.”

‘Mistakes’

Despite failing to qualify for the ISL playoffs, the Men of Steel put on a commendable display, finishing fifth on the points table for the second successive season. They are the only team to finish the season unbeaten against the top four teams in the table and to stop Goa from scoring in its own backyard in the league stages. But a league-high nine draws and the indifferent form of the strikers dashed its hopes of a top-four finish. Ferrando, however, underlined that his team had to cope with issues in the striking area which was out of his hands.

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“It’s a big problem for us [scoring goals] during the season. Gaurav’s (Mukhi) ban and some players picked up injuries which were bad for the team. Despite that, we played very well and scored a lot of goals. I think we made two or three made big mistakes which cost our qualification,” said the Spaniard.

Ferrando could persist with midfielder Pablo Morgado in the striker’s role after his brace against Bengaluru FC in the final game of the season. The return of a fully-fit Michael Soosairaj will add creativity in the flanks.

The last eight game on Saturday has been touted as a battle between Jamshedpur’s sturdy defence against the Gaurs’ free-scoring forwards.

‘Very good side’

Goa’s assistant coach Jesus Tato did not want to look into his team’s below-par scoring-record against its opponent this season. “We all know Jamshedpur is a very good side with a lot of work behind them; tactically a very organised [side]. If we are not at our 100 per cent it will be a tough game. They have a good defensive system but we are focused on ourselves. We know the football we want to play, we don’t want to be distracted by their strength,” said Tato.

FC Goa will be keen to put the disappointment of the ISL final loss behind it. Photo: Sportzpics/ISL

 

Sergio Lobera’s men are keen to put the disappointment of the ISL final loss behind them and they began the process by dispatching Indian Arrows 3-0 in the last 16.

Central midfielder Ahmed Jahouh isn’t part of Goa’s squad for the tournament, but Hugo Boumous marked his return to the starting XI with a goal, his fourth of the season.

Ferran Corominas, ISL’s top goal-scorer, was reduced to a peripheral figure in Mumbai against Bengaluru FC in the final. But, Tato backed his compatriot to come good with the quality around him. “It was only in one game. It’s true that we create a lot of chances in all games and most of the times, Coro scores. But in the final, we couldn’t do it. It’s important for us to keep in the same path because we have the quality to create a lot of chances, and Coro will score again,” he said.

Goa’s skipper Mandar Dessai and Nirmal Chettri are unavailable for selection on Saturday.