ISL 2019-20: FC Goa looks to do one better than last season

Coach Sergio Lobera and his team’s ‘all-or-nothing’ style of play was arguably one of the highlights of last season as the Gaurs struck 36 goals.

Sergio Lobera addressing his FC Goa players during pre-season training.   -  Special Arrangement

Aggressive, possession-based football — this trait is often associated with FC Goa, one of the most entertaining teams in the Indian Super League (ISL).

Coach Sergio Lobera and his team’s ‘all-or-nothing’ style of play was arguably one of the highlights of last season as the Gaurs struck 36 goals — seven more than eventual victor Bengaluru FC — while they also conceded 20. For Goa, outscoring the opponent meant more than keeping a clean slate. Kickstarting a new ISL chapter, this time with a trophy — the Super Cup — in its cabinet, Goa will again be a title contender. Having extended the stay of prolific striker Ferran Corominas, who is the tournament’s highest goal scorer with 34 goals, Goa promises goals galore.

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Coro will be supported by Edu Bedia and Hugo Boumous in midfield, while Indian players such as Jackichand Singh and Brandon Fernandes too will enhance Goa’s attacking prowess. Newly signed Seiminlen Doungel and the young Manvir Singh can too make an impact, coming off the bench for the two-time finalist.

In defensive duties, Moroccan Ahmed Jahouh is a key contributor. He will form the double pivot with Lenny Rodrigues. The back-four, however, will have to improve from last year, as the onus will be on Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall at the heart of defence, and promising full-backs Mandar Rao Dessai and Seriton Fernandes. Naveen Kumar will likely guard the goal, as Goa fights to bring home the coveted trophy.

The most important thing for this season will be to play with the same ambition as last season. But if we think we are going to win because we were in the final or won the Super Cup, we will be making a mistake. We have to forget that, but play with the same style, and the results will follow.

— Carlos Pena, defender

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