Confident FC Goa braces up for Odisha challenge

A win on Sunday will give the side the top spot in the ISL points table.

FC Goa duo Mandar Rao Desai and Jackichand Singh train ahead of Sunday's contest. Photo: ISL Media

FC Goa will bid to reclaim top spot in the Indian Super League points table when it takes on Odisha FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao on Sunday. Goa is currently in second spot with 15 points from eight games, while Odisha is seventh with nine points.

Goa is coming off a confidence-boosting 2-1 win over ATK in the previous game. Importantly, star forward Ferran Corominas returned from injury and got himself on the scoresheet as well.

Attacking prowess

Sergio Lobera, the head coach, will back his team’s attack to fire against a shaky Odisha defence. Goa has the second-best attacking record this season, with 15 goals. Nine of those goals came from set-pieces and Odisha seems susceptible in dealing with them as it has so far conceded five goals from dead-ball situations.

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Also, Goa has scored as many as five goals in the final quarter of matches while Odisha has a tendency to concede late.

'Good side'

Looking ahead to the contest, Lobera said: “I think it is important to keep possession and have the ball as much as possible. We did not have the ball too much in the last few matches. Odisha are playing very well. I saw their matches and they are a good side.”

Sergio Lobera: “I think it is important to keep possession and have the ball as much as possible.” Photo: ISL Media

 

Odisha will miss the services of midfielder Vinit Rai due to suspension. Bikramjit Singh is likely to be deputised alongside Marcos Tebar in the middle of the park as they look to take on the likes of Brandon Fernandes and Ahmed Jahouh.

'Important to have the ball'

Goa is likely to suffer if it doesn't get possession of the ball, felt Odisha head coach Josep Gombau. “It is important to have the ball against Goa. They like to have the ball and if they do not have it, they will suffer more. It is also important that we make not many mistakes as they have the quality to punish us. We have a gameplan. We have worked well. I hope it will be a good game. They will have to work a lot, if they have to beat us,” Gombau said.

Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Nandhakumar Sekar, Xisco Hernandez, and striker Aridane Santana could play key roles for Odisha.

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