Image Courtesy: Indian Super League Media Team
As the Indian Super League (ISL) table starts taking a definitive shape, FC Goa gets ready to host Kerala Blasters FC, in a match that can be called the West Coast Derby, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Fatorda, Goa, on Thursday.
Both the teams are rallying around the mid table currently, and seem to be rallying around, to take a spot in its top half, of the top-four. A couple of wins on two consecutive days, by bottom to sides Mumbai City FC (against Delhi Dynamos FC) and North East United FC (against Chennaiyin FC), have made the table a bit more compact and competitive, which is why this match will be of great importance to both Goa and Kerala.
FC Goa, who are coached by legendary Brazilian Zico, could go to the top of the table, if they can get the win against Kerala Blasters FC. Meanwhile, the Blasters, who are baste out of Kochi, can leapfrog Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa, into the fourth place, if they can get a win out of this match.
Zico however, would be on the guard, as his team have experienced a host of different fortunes in their home matches so far, with a win, a draw, and a loss at the Fatorda Stadium. In fact, their 4-0 loss at the hands oc Chennaiyin FC would have dealt a killer blow to their confidence, as it was in front of their home crowd.
Although FC Goa won their last match 3-1, away at NEUFC, Zico warned his players that home matches could get especially difficult, in the ISL, and pointed out their recent 4-0 loss to Chennaiyin FC, as a rather damming example.
He said, a We played here, we lost 4-0, it was really heart-breaking. But we had many chances. If it was 4-3, 4-2, the loss against Chennai, which is a good team, it wouldna t have been a big problem. But 4-0 was bad. One thing again is that teams that are playing away are getting the results. So now every time you are at home, you have to be doubly careful!
a Even after the game I talked to the players and I was very strong with them because we know the rules, we know that the goal difference is very important, but we have to keep working this way, and we will get the result,” continued Zico. “We cannot come to the end of the league and then regret the goals that we missed. So we have to do the best we can and make the most of the opportunities that we have.a
Kerala Blaster FC are also coming on the back of a poor run of form, losing their last twos matches to Atletico de Kolkata and Delhi Dynamos FC. However, speaking to the press on the eve of the match, Blasters assistant coach Trevor Morgan said that in spite of the bad run, the team’s main goal of reaching the semi finals remains the same.
He said, “We know wea ve started the season well but we have not been consistent in our last two performances, but like Ia ve said before, Ia ll just say this, the games come around so quickly, you dona t have time to think. Whata s gone is gone. We have to look forward, and tomorrowa s game is the ideal opportunity for us to get back on the winning track.”
However, Morgan also said that his team would be looking to capitalise on the fact that FC Goa lost their last home game 4-0, at the hands of Chennaiyin FC.
a I hope (Goa’s 4-0 loss gives Kerala some encouragement) so! But then again they won their last away game. So theya re coming on the back of a win, wea re coming on the back of a loss,” continued Morgan. “In the league, anybody can beat anybody, on any given day. Ita s quite even at the moment.a
Zico will be without the services of marquee player Lucio in the match, which could be a huge setback for FC Goa. However, They do have the likes of Renaldo and Jonatan Lucca, to hurt Kerala Blasters FC, who on their part would be looking to the likes of defender Peter Ramage and Victor Forcada, to see them through.