Super Cup: FC Goa look to get past Arrows (Preview)
Bhubaneshwar, March 29: After having lost the final of the Indian Super League (ISL), FC Goa have been licking their wounds and would look to unleash themselves on the young Indian Arrows when the two sides lock horns in the Super Cup here on Saturday.
With most I-League teams giving the knockout competition a miss due to negligence on the part of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), both teams would be eager to make the most of it and bag the trophy.
The Arrows pose a unique threat as their youngsters have had ample time to acclimatise to the hot and humid conditions prevailing here. They also go into the match hot on the heels of some impressive results.
Goa, on the other hand, come into the tournament after another impressive campaign in the ISL, finishing runners-up.
This season has seen FC Goa take giant strides in terms of being a more complete team as the side finished the ISL season with the highest number of goals, wins and clean sheets.
On the individual front, Coro won his second consecutive Golden Boot to go with his first ever Golden Ball award. While the striker has been phenomenal in front of the goal, he has been ably supported by Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes and Jackichand Singh. The trio netted 14 goals amongst themselves.
Just behind the frontline, Lenny Rodrigues took to life back in his hometown like a duck to water. At the centre, Ahmed Jahouh was at his best — propelling the forwards with his inch-perfect passes besides being a shield in front of the back four.
In the defence, Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena have proved to be rocks. In the goal, Mohammad Nawaz and Naveen Kumar have certainly proved to be two of the best in the country.
This will be the first time that FC Goa will be up against the Indian Arrows in a competitive game.
The two sides had earlier met in a pre-season friendly, when a late winner from Princeton Rebello helped Goa to a 2-1 win.
The Arrows finished 8th in the I-League this season, ahead of last season’s winner Minerva Punjab. They kicked off their campaign in the Super Cup with a win over Kerala Blasters.
Unbeaten in the last four games of the season, the youngsters of Arrows will look to carry forward the momentum against Goa.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, Sergio Lobera, the head coach of Goa, stated that Arrows will indeed be a formidable challenge for his team to overcome.
“We will be facing a tough opponent tomorrow, of that I am sure. And we will have to be at our best if we are to qualify for the next stage of the competition,” the Spaniard said.
“We will be up against a side that has played together for quite a long period of time and knows the climate over here much better than us,” Lobera said.
With only six foreigners allowed to be play in the Super Cup, FC Goa will go into the tournament without the services of Ahmed Jahouh. Lobera, however, doesn’t feel that his absence would be a significant one.
“Rules are rules and we could only bring in six foreigners for this competition. And it was my decision that Jahouh would be given time off for this tournament.
“Surely he is an important player for us, but our team is more than just about one individual,” Lobera said.
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