FC Goa has fourth spot in sights as it gears to play NorthEast

FC Goa has three matches in hand on fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC and two on third-placed FC Pune City.

FC Goa Head Coach Sergio Lobera happy to have 'games in hand' and having the opportunity to climb up the table.   -  ISL/Sportzpics

Having lost a close match to Mumbai City FC in its last game, FC Goa will look to put its campaign back on track when it takes on Avram Grant's NorthEast United FC in the Hero Indian Super League clash at Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. A win tomorrow can see it go fourth on the points table.

Currently sixth in the league standings with 19 points from 11 games, Sergio Lobera's men have two games in hand over third-placed FC Pune City and played three games less than fourth-placed Jamshedpur FC, both tied on 22 points.

Read: Mumbai City edges 10-man Goa in seven-goal thriller

"At this point in time, if they let me chose between 4th, 5th or 6th having played all the games or be in a position to have games in hand, I would prefer to have games in hand. That gives us an opportunity to climb up the table. I'm sure other coaches will prefer that too" Lobera said at the pre-match press conference.

Pointing out the difference in the number of games played by each team, he added, "At the moment there are teams who have played three games less, some two less so the points table doesn't truly reflect."

The former Barcelona youth coach also brushed aside talks of pressure on his side with others overtaking it on the points table since it last played. "Pressure doesn't exist for us at this point in time, for us, there is only excitement. Excitement to improve on the difficult season last year," he said.

FC Goa has acquired the services of Moroccan 22-year-old midfielder Hugo Adnan Boumous. But the home side will be without midfielder Seriton Fernades, who was sent off in the last match. Talking about his team selection for tomorrow, Lobera said, "there will be changes in the team. But whatever the changes we make our style of play will remain the same."

No doubt, FC Goa is one of the favorites to seal a top-four place. But, it first needs to get past NorthEast United. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, FC Goa lost 1-2 in Guwahati.

NorthEast United may have lost all hopes of making it to the playoffs. But, it would still want to finish the season on a high. Under Grant, NorthEast has seen a drastic change in fortune. It has provided glimpses of what it can do but still hasn't found any consistency. The visitor comes into this game at the back of a 1-2 defeat to Bengaluru FC.

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