FC Pune City will find it hard against a defensive Goa

FC Goa avenged their embarrassing loss at home by four goals by beating Chennaiyin on their home turf 2-0 on Thursday. The victory in Chennai helped weed out the negative morale that emerged from the embarrassing home loss. Zico and his team now have to tame FC Pune City, who, under astute coach David Platt, are difficult to handle at home.

Zico is packing the backline with five defenders and the defensive ploy worked to an extent against Chennaiyin FC.   -  ISL sportzpics

FC Goa avenged their embarrassing loss at home by four goals by beating Chennaiyin on their home turf 2-0 on Thursday. The victory in Chennai helped weed out the negative morale that emerged from the embarrassing home loss. Zico and his team now have to tame FC Pune City, who, under astute coach David Platt, are difficult to handle at home.

Zico is packing the backline with five defenders and the defensive ploy worked to an extent against Chennaiyin FC. The Brazilian legend aims to make life difficult for opposition forwards in this year’s ISL. “Strikers will find life getting tougher, they will be given very little space and need to make the most of each chance they get,” he said.

Teams will chase only victories now, Zico said. “Two losses and you are out of the event. Coaches are trying to make sure teams don’t end up on the losing side. With the ISL past the halfway mark, teams will be careful.”

Asked for his view on Zico being defensive-minded, Platt said: “Rather than saying that a legend like him played defensive, it must be noted that Goa came back with three points from an away game.”

Talking about the Goa’s formation against Chennaiyin, the Pune City coach said: “Five at the back was only on paper. If you noticed, they had three defenders when the team was on the attack as the wing backs moved up in support. When the ball was with the opponent, they played with five at the back.”

Goa are adjusting to a long injury list, with Joffre Gonzalez, Reinaldo Oliviera, C Sabeeth, Joaquim Abranches not available. They have signed MacPherlin Omagbemi Dudu as a replacement for the injured Darryl Duffy. The side is currently atop the standing with 14 points from eight games. Seven out of eight sides are within striking distance of four knockout places, including their opponents Pune City.

“They have shown quality at home and even their only loss (against Delhi Dynamos) was a close affair. All we want is three points and hope our players show the same fighting spirit,” said Zico.

Platt admitted the loss away to Kerala Blasters was hard to digest. The squad has no injury problems. The coach downplayed the concern over the form of his players and said: “Making players get to peak form is far from my mind. I am focussed on finding the right combination for the Goa game.”

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