FC Goa loses first pre-season friendly

Zico will hope for a much improved show and may rotate his squad in a bid to find the best playing XI ahead of the third season of the Indian Super League.

FC Goa will play its next match against Brazilian heavyweight Atletico Paranaense.   -  PTI

FC Goa went down to Bangu Atletico Clube 3-1 in the first of its six pre-season games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The match took place at Zico 10, head coach Zico’s academy.

Bangu played quick, attacking football to take a 3-0 lead at the first half before full back Fulganco Cardozo reduced the margin for Zico’s side.

Employing a 3-5-2 formation, FC Goa was vulnerable to rapid attacks by the Brazilian team. Wingers Romeo Fernandes and Mandar Rao Dessai were forced to track back constantly and cover the opposition wingers. The opposition found acres of space behind the two Goan wingers who attempted to venture forward to help out in the attack.

It did not take long before the first goal was scored. Gregory Arnolin held on to the ball too long at the half line, which prompted the opposition to steal it from him. A quick counter attack ensued and Goa found itself a goal down.

In the 21st minute, a poorly taken corner gave the opposition another chance to counter attack and the Brazilian club scored again to double its lead.

Soon Bangu extended its lead by exploiting the space behind Dessai and the resulting cross was turned into his own net by a back tracking Lucio.

At the break, the Indian side was down 0-3 and had a mountain to climb in the second half.

Zico was quick to identify his team’s weaknesses and made some changes at the break. The defence underwent an overhaul as Cardozo, Keenan Almeida and Luciano Sobrosa were brought in. Brazilian Trindade Gonsalves was also brought in to shield the defence.

Changing to a 4-4-1-1 formation brought more stability to the team. Although Bangu still kept control of the match, Zico’s side looked more assured.

Midway through the half, Zico brought Debabrata Roy on for Dessai and pushed Cardozo to a more advanced left midfield position. Zico also brought in Pratesh Shirodkar for Joffre.

Goa persisted and pushed forward and was finally rewarded towards the end of the match as right back Keenan Almeida played a ball forward to Romeo who found himself in acres of space. The winger beat the first man and gave a cross to Cardozo, who made no mistake with his head.

FC Goa will play its next match against Brazilian heavyweight Atletico Paranaense on September 14. Zico will hope for a much improved show and may rotate his squad in a bid to find the best playing XI ahead of the third season of the Indian Super League.

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