Dynamos visit Goa with slender lead

A one-goal lead often carries the prefix ‘precarious’. It is indeed so, forever in danger of being wiped out. If it is to be evidenced, one need not go too far. In the league stage’s last match, when Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa squared off, the former at one point led by not one, but two goals, only to be run over in a matter of minutes.

On Tuesday, when the same two sides clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda here in the second leg of the Indian Super League semi-final, the Dynamos will certainly know how razor-thin the margin is.   -  PTI

A one-goal lead often carries the prefix ‘precarious’. It is indeed so, forever in danger of being wiped out. If it is to be evidenced, one need not go too far. In the league stage’s last match, when Delhi Dynamos and FC Goa squared off, the former at one point led by not one, but two goals, only to be run over in a matter of minutes.

On Tuesday, when the same two sides clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda here in the second leg of the Indian Super League semi-final, the Dynamos will certainly know how razor-thin the margin is.

“I cannot say they had supremacy,” Goa Chief Coach Zico said of the first leg which his side lost 1-0. “Both teams had chances. They took one, we didn’t.”

The first leg was in fact stereotyped as a battle between two contrasting sides – between a Dynamos outfit relying on defensive solidity and a Goa one full of flair. It didn’t necessarily turn out to be so. Instead Goa – in what was certainly not a departure from the past – played on the counter while Dynamos showed how a repetitively-honed passing game built from the back (defence) can hurt.

If anything, it’s the second leg which might well fit into that stereotype. Frenchman Florent Malouda, one of Dynamos’ stand-out performers, hinted as much even as coach Roberto Carlos conceded that it was quite un-Brazilian to be considered more defensive than offensive and his side would “always attack.”

“When you build a team, you build it from the back,” Malouda said. “It provides solid foundation. The possession, the movement, and the control, everything is better. We are also creating more. We missed some but we create. We have to keep repeating it game after game.”

When asked if his team wouldn’t be averse to ‘parking the bus’ (an expression to suggest excessive defence-mindedness), the former Chelsea player smilingly said, “If at the end we have to defend, we can park the bus, or even the plane in front of the goal. Our goalkeeper will be more than happy.”

Much will depend on how Goa’s midfield talisman Leo Moura plays. The Brazilian’s ability to play in multiple positions across the midfield is what gives the team its versatility. The counter to that might lie in how the engine in Malouda, who has so far expertly bridged the attack with defence, marshals his side.

Goa will miss the services of Reinaldo, scorer of seven goals, and Raju Gaekwad. Both have picked up injuries in Delhi. The Dynamos, on the other hand, have a seemingly fit squad.

It’s the start of the week which leads in to festivities here in Goa. After having seen their team lose agonisingly in the semifinals last year, how much would the locals relish an FC Goa triumph on home soil (the final will also be held here) to be a part of the celebrations?