FC Goanai??i??s are leading the race in the best fans’ award from the Hero Indian Super League, but the same can’t be said of FC Goa. The Gaurs, as they are fondly known are struggling in the bottom half of the table in the league. The Zico led side were unlucky on numerous occasion upfront and got punished by the opponents for a slight mistake at the back. The team was languishing at the bottom of the table in the firstAi??leg, but a thumping 4-1 victory over Delhi Dynamos in an away fixture have raised hopes of FC Goanai??i??s. TheHardTackle talks about the journey of the club so far reviewing the positives and the negatives

FC Goa began their campaign against Chennayin FC and they were fancied to give the fans early Diwali present but the club from South spoiled the fun for the Goans. Chennayin FC scored a 2 – 1 victory of FC Goa and become the first team in the Indian Super League history to register an away win. The bad start of the league continued for the FC Goa and they stumbled to second home defeat against Atletico de KolkataAi??despite being a goal up. The series of draws, defeats and injuries to the key players never really made FC Goa have an impact on the league and the club was languishing at the bottom of the table. The club had to wait till the end of the firstAi??leg of the league to register their first win as they went on to secure a 2-1 win over Delhi Dynamos in a thrilling encounter.

One major concern for the FC Goa is the lack of fire power in the striking department. The club plays beautiful possession football but lack the killer instinct in the box. The club has a decent midfield with Robert Pires controlling the proceeding of the game. Arsenal legend has looked tired sometimes, but continues to be the mainstay of the club. He has controlled the midfield and distributed the ball nicely. Zico tried four different forwards in the form of Ranti Martins, Tolgay Ozbey, Miraslav Slapicka and Miguel Herlien but none of them looked particularly threatening in front of the goal. The top goal scorer for the FC Goa until the end of the firstAi??leg was stopper back Gregory Armolin with two goals. The team in the majority of matches had a lion share of the possession but failed to make it count which led to coachAi??Zico showing his frustration about the strikers in the public.Ai??The lack of a number of personal in the box was another reason of scoring very few goals.

FC Goa is one of the smallest squad in the league. Injuries to the key players like Edgar Marcilinho, Peter Carvelho and Andre Santos had left FC Goa in a tantrum. FC Goa has many players in one position but on the other hand, they find short of players for another position like the striking department. FC Goa has many options in defensive front, but lack players when it comes to attacking half. Andre Santos and Edgar Marcilinho are two important figures who can move up and create scoring opportunities. In few games when both were missing the team looked out of clue going up front. Zico has shown in the first game of the secondAi??leg Ai??against Dynamos that provided he gets a full squad he can deliver the result. The whole squad is available for selection now, except Peter Carvalho, who went out in the first half of the game against Delhi Dynamos with a hamstring injury.

FC Goans – The 12th Men

Fatorda Stadium, Margao always draws capacity crowd for the home games of FC Goa and the capacity crowd has often acted as the 12 player for the club cheering every action of their team. The fans are leading at the top of the chart in best fans’ award of the Indian Super Laegue. Despite the team in the bottom half of the table, the fans come in number to cheer for the team. In a short span of the league, FC Goa has developed a strong fan base. Fans in Fatorda stadium which is at par with some of the best European matches. The fans never stop cheering for the club even if the club is down by a goal. The club is very lucky to have such strong fan base which sticks behind the club throughout the 90 minutes. A win over Delhi Dynamos showed that with such fan support any away team can come under pressure at Fatorda Stadium. FC Goa players and supporting staff would have to give their best in the home games to repay the faith of their fans.

Zico brigade has started the 2nd leg of the league with the rout of Delhi Dynamos away from the home. There are only 5 points different between the first place team and FC Goa, which gives them hope of making in the playoffs. Zico now first time since the start of the league has a full squad at his disposal. In the first game of the secondAi??leg the team looked a cohesive unit. Striker Tolgay Ozbey has shown some brilliance in front of the goal and has cemented his place in the team. The league is still wide open and 3-4 wins in remaining 6 games can push FC Goa into the top four and the playoff spots. With three home games remaining, the clubis Ai??expected to have an advantage with fans behind them. If players remain injury free for next 6 games and strikers start firing there can be no stopping for the Gaurs as they look to march into the playoff spots.

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