Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC square off against Juan Ferrando’s struggling FC Goa side in the Indian Super League (ISL) tonight. The Red Miners are unbeaten in six whereas the Gaurs are coming off the back of two disappointing defeats amidst an extremely congested fixture list. While this match can be billed as the battle between Nerijus Valskis and Igor Angulo, it is definitely much more than that.
The balance in FC Goa’s backline
So far this season, the Gaurs have conceded 8 goals in 7 matches and most of those have come from lapses in concentration. Fans would have hoped that the signings of Ivan Gonzalez and James Donachie would fortify the defence after the departure of Mandar Rao and Mourtada Fall. However, the duo haven’t really inspired confidence during defensive transitions so far. The same can be said about Aiban Dohling who has filled in for either of the two at times and has looked shaky at best. The bright spot however has been the stability as well as attacking threat that Saviour Gama and Seriton Fernandes provide from the fullback position.
The combination of Laldinliana Renthlei and Jackichand Singh
Jamshedpur have an exceptionally dynamic duo in the form of Jacky and Renthlei down their right. Both of them seem to dovetail perfectly during attacking transitions and often prove to be the outlet when put under pressure by the opposition. Both of them are quick and have the ability to carry the ball for long stretches. Moreover, the way that they use decoy runs to drag defenders out of position has been one of the major features of Jamshedpur’s attack. Case in point, their very first goal of the season against Chennaiyin FC which was scored by Valskis from a Jackichand cross.
The threat of Brandon Fernandes and Jorge Ortiz
Both Brandon and Ortiz have been in and out of the side due to fitness issues. This has been one of the main reasons why Goa have played some good passing football but haven’t been able to find the killer final ball. Head coach Juan Ferrando would be praying that both of them stay fit from hereon so that Igor Angulo isn’t starved of proper service like he has been in the first few matches. The best part about these two is that they can both play centrally but can also drift towards either flank, creating the space for midfielders to make marauding forward runs from deep. That has to happen on a consistent basis, especially because they have someone like Lenny Rodrigues to hold fort behind.
Jamshedpur FC’s discipline on the pitch
The Men of Steel are the team with the worst defensive record so far. In 7 matches they have seen 3 red cards, the last of which was seen by Aitor Monroy against Mumbai City FC. They have also seen 17 yellow cards so far and are 5th on that list. Against a team like FC Goa which plays possession-based football, they do run the risk of going overboard during spells when they do not see much of the ball. It will therefore be important for Owen Coyle to ensure that his boys stay focused and do not make rash decisions in the heat of the moment and let down others in the side.