In a highly anticipated encounter set to unfold at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Tuesday, hosts FC Goa will lock horns with Mumbai City FC.
As the league leaders, the Gaurs stand resilient with an impressive form and a seven-game unbeaten streak. The Islanders, meanwhile, will look to build on their recent win against Bengaluru FC, and will try to do so with a new tactician in Petr Kratky at the helm.
Having won their most recent home matches against Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters FC, FC Goa will look to make it a hat-trick of home victories when they take on Mumbai City on Tuesday. The three points will also greatly boost their chances of qualifying for the playoffs and challenge for the top honours.
Addressing the media at the pre-match press conference, FC Goa Head Coach, Manolo Marquez, exuded confidence in his squad’s abilities.
“Obviously, we’re focused on tomorrow’s match, but it’s true that the next two games, combined, can give you a feeling about where FC Goa will finish this season. I’m optimistic about our chances. But, yes, we’re facing the two other teams that are also unbeaten in the league, in our next two games,” he began.
“Speaking about tomorrow’s game, I felt Mumbai City doubted themselves a bit, in terms of the system at the start of the ISL – but now, they have it in place, as evident from their recent AFC Champions League match and last week’s win against Bengaluru FC. They now have a playing style that suits their players.”
“I know they scored a lot of goals against FC Goa last season, but every game is different and it’s a new season now. Numbers always tell different stories.”
“For instance, if you look at our numbers, you may feel we’re a defensive team, with a few 1-0 wins, a 0-0 draw against Bengaluru FC, etc. But if you watched the games, you’ll see that we had several chances to score more and kill games, like in the first half itself against Kerala Blasters,” the tactician explained.
“Tomorrow again, we’ll have our options to try and win the match. We will remain very competitive – you’ll hear this from me every time,” Marquez concluded.
FC Goa’s formidable form, boasting 6 victories and a draw in their last 7 outings, has propelled them to the top of the table with 19 points. Mumbai City, positioned fourth with 14 points from 6 games, seek redemption after a mixed run in both domestic and international competitions.
While the Islanders have done well in the ISL so far – they are also unbeaten in the league like the Gaurs – their AFC Champions League campaign did not go to plan with them failing to register a single point across 6 group stage games.
And now, under Kratky, they will look to put this history behind them, and present the hosts with a formidable challenge come Tuesday.
Recent encounters between the two sides will also tell a story in favour of the Mumbai-based side, who have been maintaining an unbeaten streak of eight games against FC Goa. The four most recent matches have all been wins for the Islanders.
That said, Manolo Marquez and his boys are in red-hot form at the moment, conceding just thrice across their unbeaten campaign so far. Things are looking good not just in the defence, but in attack as well – with the team producing as many as eight different goalscorers across just seven matches.
Over the years, both FC Goa and Mumbai City FC have grown to be associated with quality and consistency, thereby setting the stage for a fiery contest at Fatorda on Tuesday. Additionally, both clubs also share the record for the most consecutive clean sheets (5) in a season, a feat that the Gaurs aim to equal once again in the upcoming clash.