FC Goa will be looking to get on to the points table after a second consecutive loss to FC Pune City in front of home fans in their second game of the third season of the Indian Super League. The Gaurs are on the road for three successive games beginning with a daunting trip to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai against defending champions Chennaiyin FC whom they narrowly lost out to in the final of the previous edition of the tournament. Marco Materazzi’s charges have also started the tournament slowly with only one point from their opening two fixtures as both teams will be raring to go.
Head coach Zico, however, is not harbouring any thoughts about revenge. “The past is the past. What happened last year cannot be changed. The result in the final will not motivate me in any way. I will play according to my strengths,” said the Brazilian. He also noted that his team has played well but results haven’t gone their way. “It’s not that we played badly in the first two games. Yes we’ve only scored one goal despite attacking a lot, but if you look at the first season also, we had scored just once in two games. Take a look at the stats as well and you will see that we had a number of shots. You can also attribute it to good performances from the two goalkeepers we have faced. Simultaneously, we conceded goals we shouldn’t have. We will continue to do what we’ve been doing. We’re just lacking competence to put the ball into the net. Once we get that, we’ll be fine,” he explained.
Having fallen behind early on, the Gaurs face an uphill task in trying to regain lost ground. According to history, FC Goa are usually slow starters and begin to rake in the points at the midway point in the season. The good news for the Gaurs is that all the injured players have been cleared to train with the team and have travelled to Chennai. The Brazilian may not want to tinker too much with the team formation and as such, Laxmikant Kattimani will start once again in goal. With Gregory Arnolin back from injury, it will be interesting to see whether he gets into the team right away. Raju Gaekwad had a good couple of games and he looks to be a sure starter. Lucio and Rafael Dumas have forged an understanding and Zico may not want to break the partnership. Fulganco Cardozo might get another run at left back. In the middle, it will be a toss-up between Sanjay Balmuchu and Richarlyson Barbosa to play the anchor’s role. Trindade Goncalves has been one of the most impressive players for the Gaurs and he will be a sure starter along with Spanish veteran Joffre who also had a good game against FC Pune City. Mandar Rao Dessai is likely to continue on the left-hand side as well. Up front, Rafael Coelho will lead the line up after a good strike in the last match. With Indian target man, Robin Singh fit, it will be either him or Reinaldo partnering the enigmatic Brazilian.
Zico will be desperate to get his first win of the season and thus, spectators will be treated to an attacking display of football. With Chennaiyin also winless so far, this promises to be an engaging contest.