ISL 2019 Preview: After two finals, FC Goa believe they can win this season
FC Goa will be going for the kill this season, and there is no doubt that anything less than that will be considered a failure.
FC Goa has been one of the most consistent sides in the ISL since its inception, both in terms of the style of football they employ and the results they achieve. A two-time semi-finalist and a two-time finalist, the Gaurs have made quite a reputation for playing free-flowing, passing football that focuses on attack. Be it Zico or Sergio Lobera, the culture at the franchise has always been based on the adage: “Attack is the best form of defence”.
Last season, they were easily the most aesthetically pleasing side in the ISL and despite losing out to Bengaluru FC in the final; they were duly rewarded for their approach by an epic triumph in the Hero Super Cup. Led by the unwavering Ferran Corominas, who leads the ISL charts in terms of all-time goals scored with 34, the Gaurs have a belief that they are destined to win the title this season. They have managed to retain most of the squad which almost turned the dream into fruition in the last campaign, and they will be pulling all the stops to ensure it does into reality this term around.
Setup this season
As mentioned before, there have been minimal changes in terms of recruitment for FC Goa. The Virat-Kohli co-owned side only released Zaid Krouch from the overseas players who were a part of the squad and recruited promising Indian starlets like Aiban Dohling, Amey Ranawade and Seiminlen Doungel. Lobera is well-regarded in the Indian football circuit for his tactical tweaks, and he will be looking to fine-tune them to perfection this year. While the excellent Nawaz is almost certain to be the first-choice goalkeeper for Lobera, the quartet of Chinglensana Singh, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena and Saviour Gama will most likely form the backline. Known to employ a 4-3-3 usually that shifts to a 4-4-2, the midfield will most likely comprise of Brandon Fernandez, Adnan Boumous and Edu Bedia. Upfront, the trio of Corominas, Jackichand and Seiminlen will look to antagonise the opposition's defence.
Lobera, will be, in effect, can also rely on his midfield to deliver the goals and supplement the attack. Edu Bedia’s persistent aerial threat and Brandon’s clever runs into the box have posed significant problems for other sides in the past, while Jahouh operates from the base of the midfield, controlling the tempo. Fall and Pena make a solid defensive partnership (they conceded the second-lowest number of goals last year, 20) while Nawaz is one of the most promising goalkeepers in the country right now.
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Shubham Dhas, Naveen Kumar
Defenders: Chinglensana Singh Konsham, Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Saviour Gama, Aiban Dohling, Mourtada Fall, Mohamed Ali, Amey Ranawade
Midfielders: Hugo Adnan Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Seiminlen Doungel, Brandon Fernandes, Princeton Rebello, Telem Jackichand Singh, Kingslee Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Lenny Rodrigues, Mandar Rao Dessai
Forwards: Ferran Corominas Telechea "Coro", Manvir Singh, Lalawmpuia, Liston Colaco
Three key players
The Moroccan is quite simply, the heartbeat for the Gaurs. He is responsible for doing the dirty work in the middle of the work, for releasing the right passes even in the tightest of spaces and for recycling possession whenever it is lost. He led the charts for both the most passes(1471) and most tackles(126) last season and there is no doubt that he will have to be at his very best once again if Goa are to finally win the ISL trophy this season.
A vital option in attack for Lobera, Jackichand had a stellar campaign for the Gaurs last year as he racked up 4 goals and 4 assists. Deceptively quick, technically sound and blessed with a powerful shot, he is a superstar-in-the-making. There is no doubt that his form will go a long way to decide how far FC Goa make it this year.
Corominas, or Scorominas as he is aptly named by his fans has won the Golden Boot for two successive seasons, and he epitomises FC Goa’s approach to the game perfectly. Sixteen goals and seven assists in 20 games last year underlined his class as probably the best overseas ISL player of all-time, but this time around he will be eager to embellish his records with the trophy as well. With service from all over the park, there is no doubt that Corominas will have plenty of opportunities to do what he does best throughout the season: score goals by the bucket.
As mentioned before, FC Goa will be going for the kill this season, and there is no doubt that anything less than that will be considered a failure.
FC Goa takes on Chennaiyin FC in their first match at home on the 23rd of October. Their first away game is against Northeast United on 1st November.