ISL 2020-21 Preview: FC Goa braces up for Jamshedpur test

The contest will be a duel between strikers Igor Angulo and Nerijus Valskis, both of whom are on top of the ISL 2020-21 Golden Boot standings.

Published : Jan 14, 2021 15:24 IST

FC Goa has 15 points from 10 games, with four wins, three losses and three draws. - ISL MEDIA
FC Goa has 15 points from 10 games, with four wins, three losses and three draws. - ISL MEDIA

FC Goa has 15 points from 10 games, with four wins, three losses and three draws. - ISL MEDIA

Fourth-placed FC Goa will take on a team which is two spots below it in the 2020-21 Indian Super League standings - Jamshedpur FC - in match 58 of the tournament at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao on Thursday.

The duel between strikers Igor Angulo (Goa) and Nerijus Valskis (Jamshedpur), who are on top of the ISL 2020-21 Golden Boot standings, with nine and eight goals, respectively, will be the main talking point of the game.

FC Goa vs Jamshedpur FC:LIVE BLOG

FCG has never lost an encounter in which Angulo has scored. However, the real problem for the outfit is the lack of goals from other players. Jorge Mendoza, with two goals, is the second-highest goalscorer for The Gaurs.

The 28-year-old Spanish midfielder has also attempted the most shots - 38 - in the ongoing edition. But Mendoza's finishing in the final third hasn't been the best. Hence, this might tempt manager Juan Ferrando to enter the transfer market with his club having one more foreigner’s slot to fill.

“We’re checking players, but it’s important to get players who can help the team, and the young players improve. If we don’t get players fulfilling these two criteria, I am happy with the squad until the end of the season,” he said ahead of the outing.

'Excellent team'

Ferrando then claimed that his side has no specific plans to contain JFC’s in-form 33-year-old Lithuanian forward Valskis.

“There’s no individual plan for anyone, be it Valskis, (Alexandre) Lima or Jackichand (Singh). Jamshedpur is an excellent team. We have to improve game by game. We try to find our mistakes in training and are working on it. They’re strong during set-pieces, but we have a solution.

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“It’s important to control timing and space. We aim to control the second ball. In the first round (of matches), we weren’t fully content. But the character of players and their personality has been positive. After this game, we have ATK Mohun Bagan. I want to help young players get better,” he added.

Jamshedpur had lost to Goa earlier this season, with Angulo scoring a second-half stoppage-time winner. Lima's 87th-minute goal for The Men of Steel, during which the ball hit the post, crossed the goal line and bounced out, was not awarded by the referee back then.

'Not about avenging defeat'

However, head coach Owen Coyle isn’t too concerned about avenging last month’s controversial defeat.

“It’s not about avenging the defeat. Everyone has seen the game. We scored the winning goal but weren't awarded it for some bizarre reason. Even during the penalty, Alex Lima played the ball, and it was very soft. What we can do now is focus on our next game,” he said at a virtual media conference.

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Making the top-four is JFC boss Coyle’s top priority, and he is wary of the threat fellow contender FCG can possess.

“We didn’t win against Kerala Blasters FC (in the previous contest) because we made individual mistakes. We want to be in the top-four, and everybody in the league wants to do the same. To do that, we must replicate the performances from most of our matches in the first half of the season.

“FC Goa has an excellent coach and some terrific players. They play a style that they have been playing for many years, all credit to them. But we know their strengths and weaknesses, and we have to make sure we do our best. It's a game that we can win,” he signed off.

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