ISL 2020-21 preview: FC Goa, Hyderabad FC in shoot-out for final playoff place

ISL 2021: Both sides come into the match without having tasted defeat in nearly two months. Goa is unbeaten in 12 games while Hyderabad hasn’t lost in 11.

Goa, on 30 points, is ahead of Hyderabad by two and needs just a draw, while nothing other than a win will do for its opponent.   -  Sportzpics

FC Goa and Hyderabad FC will be involved in a straight shoot-out for the last available Indian Super League (ISL) playoff spot when they meet at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. Goa, on 30 points, is ahead of Hyderabad by two and needs just a draw, while nothing other than a win will do for its opponent.

Both sides come into the match without having tasted defeat in nearly two months. Goa is unbeaten in 12 games while Hyderabad hasn’t lost in 11. In fact, the last match in which Hyderabad did not pick up points was against Goa, a 2-1 reverse in late December.

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Hyderabad could have made life a bit easier for itself if it had beaten ATK Mohun Bagan (ATKMB) in the last game. It led until injury time despite playing almost the whole match with a man down, but had to settle for a draw courtesy Pritam Kotal’s late equaliser.

Its task on Sunday has now been made even more difficult because of the absence of three important players. Aridane Santana, Hyderabad’s top-scorer with 10 goals, is suspended after picking up his fourth caution. Defender Asish Rai is out for the season with an injury while Chinglensana Singh will be missing from the backline too, having received his marching orders against ATKMB.

PODCAST - Will it be ATK Mohun Bagan or Mumbai City FC which takes the League Winner's Shield? Which among FC Goa and Hyderabad FC will take the final playoff place? In the latest episode of Sportstar's 'The Full Time Show', N. Sudarshan, Shyam Vaudevan & Aashin Prasad discuss how the top-four is shaping up.

 

“We have shown during the course of the season that it’s not so important,” Hyderabad coach Manuel Marquez said about not having key personnel. “We played the other day without Asish. We played without Sana in the first game of the league and won.”

“We played without Aridane and with only two foreigners against ATK Mohun Bagan (in December) and drew. One of the strengths of this team is that they are very brave and confident in every game.”

Whether this attitude will suffice remains to be seen, for Goa’s fellow Spanish coach Juan Ferrando insisted that there will be no let-up in his side’s intensity despite the fact that a draw would be sufficient.

“We have the same plan. If we are winning 1-0, our mentality is to score the second. If we are winning 2-0, our mentality is to score the third goal,” said Ferrando. “We want to play in attack because we want to win. We are only thinking about winning, not in draws.”

PODCAST - FC Goa coach Juan Ferrando has had among the most challenging start to life in India. In this episode of The Full Time Show, he speaks to Aashin Prasad about his maiden season in ISL, quarantine and player management, coaching style, contentious refereeing and his takeaways from the season.

 

Goa, though, needs to shore up its defence. It has shipped goals in 17 of the 19 games thus far, and Naveen Kumar and Dheeraj Singh, who have collectively taken on the burden of replacing goalie Mohammed Nawaz, still look shaky. But Ferrando remained confident and chose to place his faith on the team’s overall quality.

“We lost Brandon (Fernandes) but Romario (Jesuraj), Redeem (Tlang) or sometimes Devendra (Murgaogar) have worked very hard,” he said. “Glan (Martins) and Princeton (Rebello) for me are the best number 6 (pair) in the Indian Super League.”

“Yeah, we could have won more games but in the end, it’s very important to think game by game. We will train and depending on that we decide about our line-up and plan.”