ISL: FC Goa looks to recover after NorthEast shock

FC Goa scored at a rate of 2.5 goals per match, scoring 20 in eight games so far. But Jamshedpur has let in just four goals in as many matches, and as the visiting head coach Steve Coppell put it, it looks like offence versus defence on paper.

FC Goa endured a 2-1 loss to NorthEast United FC on Saturday.   -  PTI

FC Goa would look to get its campaign back on track after the shock loss to struggler NorthEast United when it hosts Jamshedpur FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) here on Thursday.

It will be a battle of the opposites as the team that has scored the most number of goals hosts the team that has conceded the least.

FC Goa scored at a rate of 2.5 goals per match, scoring 20 in eight games so far. But Jamshedpur has let in just four goals in as many matches, and as the visiting head coach Steve Coppell put it, it looks like offence versus defence on paper.

“Sounds like a good contest - test of our defence against what has been the most fluid attacking unit until now. They score goals freely as they’ve shown against a number of sides and it is a challenge to do our best to stop them and hurt them.

“We’ve certainly not come (here) to only keep them out - but also try to expose any weaknesses they might have at the back,” said the former Manchester United player.

It may seem that Jamshedpur is willing to sit back, but Coppell also made it clear that the desire was to play a more attractive brand of football.

“It’s not our intention to try and get a 0-0 or squeak a game 1-0. We want to play more expansive football,” he said, adding that he hopes his defence tightens up after they let in two goals in their previous game against Mumbai City FC.

“Anas has been out for a while and the pitch at home is fairly demanding on its own so it was a big question whether he should play right away. It was apparently the miscommunication in the back four and we hope that is tidied up.”

High-flying Goa has surprisingly not won in its last three games and it is believed it has been down to player rotation.

However, head coach Sergio Lobera said it was not a case of safeguarding its interests, but that of putting players above results that forced his hand - given that it played two matches in the space of four matches.

He also confirmed that new signing Lalmuankima, who joined on a free from I-League champion Aizawl FC, is still not available for selection.

Lobera was insistent that his side will continue playing the way it has, and that there was no worry that teams were starting to find it out.

“I’ve seen every game in the league so far and I don’t think teams are playing differently against us. The next few games will show whether we deserve to be in the playoffs.

“As for tomorrow, we will need to be at our best to beat a side which has kept five cleansheets and conceded just four goals,” the Spaniard said.

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