FC Goa has a shot at history when it takes on Jamshedpur FC at the JRD Tata Sports Complex here on Wednesday.
Goa, which is three points clear at the top of the table, knows that a point is enough for it to finish as the league winner. If it manages to do that, Goa will become the first team from India to play in the group stages of the AFC Champions League.
However, if it loses the match, ATK will have a chance of securing top spot by winning its final game against Bengaluru FC.
Clifford Miranda’s team has been full value for its position on the table, scoring a massive 41 goals in 17 matches. If it scores two more goals, it will better its own league-stage record from the 2017-18 season, when it scored 42 goals.
“From the beginning, the club had some objectives and one of them was to top the league. If we get a result from tomorrow's (Wednesday) game, one of our objectives will be achieved - to top the league and play in the AFC Champions League,” said Miranda.
Despite the exit of Sergio Lobera, Goa has not lost its focus and has won both its games since. It will be confident of another victory against a struggling Jamshedpur side.
Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous have been integral to Goa’s march to the top. The Spaniard has 13 goals to his name and will be looking to add more to his tally while Boumous has been the creative head. The French star has contributed seven assists along with nine goals.
Stopping the duo will be hard work for Jamshedpur FC’s struggling defence which last kept a clean sheet 12 matches ago.
“Obviously it was the worst season. We have had problems. Football is about making fast decisions and fixing things. Hopefully, the learnings from this season will help the club to prepare better for the next season. Everyone must take responsibility and think for the betterment of the club,” said Jamshedpur coach Antonio Iriondo.
The Spaniard’s charges are on a five-game winless run and is mired in the eighth position with just 18 points from 17 games. The Men of Steel will be desperate to end the season on a positive note with a win.
The likes of Sergio Castel and Noe Acosta have to be on top of their game upfront while the defence will have the onus of stopping a pacy Goa attack.
In what might come as a relief for Jamshedpur, midfielder Brandon Fernandes and right-back Seriton Fernandes are both suspended. Iriondo will hope to make the most of the absence of two key players and recreate the defeat (1-0) it inflicted on Goa in the reverse fixture.
The main story though will be whether Goa can clinch top spot on Wednesday night.