FC Goa: Can The Gaurs gore this time?

The tale of FC Goa is a fascinating one. In four editions of the Indian Super League, The Gaurs haven’t been able to win the trophy, reaching the semifinals twice, the final once and even managing to finish at the bottom of the table!

Corominas, the Spanish goal-scoring machine, netted a dozen and a half last season.   -  ISL/SPORTZPICS

The tale of FC Goa is a fascinating one. In four editions of the Indian Super League, The Gaurs haven’t been able to win the trophy, reaching the semifinals twice, the final once and even managing to finish at the bottom of the table!

After finishing eighth in the third season, the side made a stunning comeback to soar into the semifinal in the fourth edition. Sergio Lobera’s team enjoyed a stellar run and shattered goal-scoring records by netting a whopping 42. However, there was a catch to that; the side also conceded 28 goals, the most among the top-4 clubs! The side has displayed a very enterprising form of attacking football since its inception under the tutelage of Brazilian legend Zico, but its defensive troubles have often let the team down.

“Last season we were coming from a tough situation as the team had finished last in the previous edition, but we did really well and managed to reach the semifinals. It was a shame to not reach the final. We are aware that this is a really difficult league and are hopeful we can take that next step and reach the final this season,” said Lobera.

In a bid to bolster his defence, the Spanish coach has roped in Barcelona youth academy product Carlos Pena and the towering Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall.

“Last season we broke offensive records, but because of our attacking style of football we conceded a lot of chances. We have been working defensively this year and have signed players in the positions that will help us to achieve it,” he said.

The previous edition saw Manuel Lanzarote and Ferran Corominas form a lethal partnership up front and score as many as 31 goals between them — nearly 75 per cent of the team’s total goals.

Though Lanzarote has left for ATK, Lobera feels the move will not affect the team composition. “The group is the most important thing, and if we function well together, we will be able to keep creating more goalscoring chances. We don’t have to miss any player, and luckily, last year’s top scorer (Corominas) has decided to stay with us and that is really positive for us.”

 

Player to watch

Corominas is a goal-scoring machine. The Spanish striker was in the form of his life last season and pumped home a brilliant 18 goals in 20 matches. His mercurial pace and tidy footwork, even at the age of 35, has left fans and pundits rooting for more. Corominas will now look to form a formidable partnership with the new signing, the former Real Madrid winger Miguel Palanca, who could very well fill the vacancy left by Lanzarote’s departure.

 

Sergio Lobera, coach

“As a coach, you always have to work on improving things. We need to make sure we maintain all the good things we have done last season, which is not easy at all. We can also improve defensively without forgetting about our offensive style of play.”

 

The Squad:

Goalkeepers: Lalthuammawia Ralte, Laxmikant Kattimani and Mohammad Nawaz.

Defenders: Chinglensana Singh, Mohamed Ali, Seriton Fernandes, Carlos Pena, Nirmal Chettri and Mourtada Fall.

Midfielders: Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Ahmed Jahouh, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai, Pratesh Shirodkar and Miguel Palanca.

Forwards: Ferran Corominas, Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh.