Monday , November 28 2022

FC Goa’s Arshdeep Singh: Fans make a massive difference!

On Sunday, 17 days after thumping Jamshedpur FC in their first home match of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 season, FC Goa will return to their fortress at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, where they will face the test of Juan Ferrando’s ATK Mohun Bagan.

Despite succumbing to a defeat in their most recent outing against Kerala Blasters this week, the Gaurs are confident that they can return to winning ways against the Mariners, the primary reason being their home advantage.

And it’s not hard to see why. In the five matches that Carlos Pena’s boys played so far, they produced their best football against Jamshedpur on November 3 at the Fatorda Fortress. While the scoresheet at full-time read 3-0, it tells us just half of the story as the Men in Orange displayed all-round brilliance to take home the three points.

A big chunk of the credit for this win surely goes to the FC Goa faithful, who turned up in large numbers to cheer for their favourite team. Hence, come Sunday, the Men in Orange will bank on their 12th man once again, as they seek to add another victory to their books.

Goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh had a very interesting account of facing FC Goa at Fatorda, while plying his trade for one of his former sides.

“I’ve been at the stadium many times, as an opponent and sometimes as a fan also. One thing that has always struck me is the massive difference that the home fans make here,” Arshdeep Singh said to fcgoa.in.

“It left a mark on me right during my first season in the ISL. I was here to play a league match and felt happy to start, but the joy was short-lived. The loud chants from the stands put me off, and I conceded a silly goal. Throughout the remainder of the game, I felt enormous pressure and was quite relieved when the referee blew the final whistle.

Arshdeep Singh joined FC Goa earlier this summer on a multi-year contract. “And now, I’m just glad that I’m no longer on the receiving end,” he added with a smile.

Meanwhile, forward Redeem Tlang recalled how big a role the fans played in the win over the Men of Steel.

“It was immense. We were playing in front of packed stands for the first time in two years, and within two minutes after kick-off, we realised what we missed during the bio-bubble days,” he said.

“When Iker (Guarrotxena) scored our opener, the whole stadium erupted with joy, it was like music to our ears. It gave us all the energy we needed to carry on for the rest of the match, and we strived to outdo ourselves every time we had the ball. I cannot wait to return to Fatorda again on Sunday, where I’m sure we’ll have all the motivation we need to play another good game.”

ATK Mohun Bagan, who face FC Goa on Sunday, boast of some names familiar to the Gaurs’ faithful.

The match will be a homecoming of sorts for former head coach Juan Ferrando, who now leads the Mariners. Former Goa stars Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh, Pritam Kotal and Hugo Boumous could don the Mariners’ colours against the Men in Orange.

“It’s never easy to play against FC Goa here. It’s one of the toughest places to play due to our style of football, and especially with the fans,” Tlang went on. Hence, fans will hope that Pena’s boys will overcome the ATKMB challenge at their Fatorda Fortress, to reinforce their playoff hopes.

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