Super Cup: East Bengal starts favourite against depleted Goa

With five of its key men unavailable due to suspensions and six players nursing injuries, FC Goa faces an uphill task when it takes on East Bengal in the semifinals.

FC Goa coach Derrick Pereira shakes hands with his counterpart from East Bengal, Khalid Jamil, after a press conference on Sunday.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Stand-in coach Derrick Pereira has his hands full as he prepares FC Goa to take on East Bengal in the Super Cup semifinal here on Monday.

In the aftermath of the controversial win in the quarterfinal fixture against Jamshedpur FC, the Gaurs will line-up at the Kalinga Stadium without five of its key men — Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Sergio Juste, Pranoy Halder and Bruno Pinheiro — owing to suspensions.

And to compound the team’s woes, six players, including Ferran Corominas and Edu Bedia, are nursing injuries, the nature of which haven’t been disclosed. The duo were, however, seen involved in light training on Sunday. Corominas has been central to Goa's plans having scored 20 goals this season.

The situation for FC Goa is so dire that the team management ordered outfield kits for its reserve goalkeeper on Saturday.

FC Goa's players train ahead of the semifinal on Monday. Photo: FC Goa


Despite the overwhelming challenges facing Goa, Pereira is adamant that his side will not curb its attacking brand of football. The Indian Super League (ISL) side though may tweak its usual 4-2-3-1 formation in light of the situation. If passed fit, Bedia will have to double up in shielding the back four as well as playing an attacking role in the transition.

Red and Golds' aerial threat

Meanwhile, East Bengal will fancy its chances against its weakened opponent and will look to expose the defensive naivety, which Jamshedpur somehow failed to capitalise on in the eventful encounter on Thursday.

Goa’s zonal marking system during set pieces allowed the Jamshedpur players to meet the ball unmarked in dangerous positions; they, however, only headed the ball over and squandered their chances. Khalid Jamil has players with a good aerial presence in forward Dudu Omagbemi and defender Eduardo Ferreira, and the duo will be keen to trouble the makeshift Goan defence.

Jamil is expected to send out his troops in a 4-3-2-1 formation, with attacking midfielders Katsumi Yusa and Mahmoud Al-Amnah feeding the striker Dudu. Both Yusa and Al-Amnah have already found their goal-scoring touch in the Super Cup and could prove to be a handful.

For Goa, which crashed out in the playoffs of the recently concluded ISL, East Bengal could land another fatal blow to its season.

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