ISL 2018: FC Goa, Chennaiyin FC set to renew rivalry
(3 months ago)
Goa , Feb 14 : FC Goa, who are currently placed sixth in the Indian Super League (ISL) table, will desperately look for a win when they face off fourth-placed Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda on Thursday.
Having picked up just one out of possible nine points in their last three games, Sergio Lobera's team find themselves in a spot of bother and they need to clinch a win against Chennayin FC if they want to stay in the hunt for a top-four finish.
FC Goa will be hoping the home conditions will favour them in the game that is equally important for John Gregory's Chennaiyin FC.
The visitors have a four-point lead over FC Goa but Lobera's side still has a game in hand, and a win will strengthen their chances of making it to playoffs and put Chennaiyin FC under pressure for the fourth place on the table.
Both coaches admitted it's a special clash, particularly with the teams involved in some fierce clashes in the past. Chennaiyin FC famously defeated FC Goa 3-2 at the same venue to win the title dramatically in 2015. Last season, both teams were involved in a nine-goal thriller with FC Goa having the last laugh.
Speaking on the eve of the match, FC Goa coach, Sergio Lobera called the game a must-win to restore his team's confidence.
"It's obvious that getting just one point from three games wasn't good for us. It is clear to be in the top four we have to improve in the next two games. And that's what we have been working in training. The most important thing will be to restore the confidence in the team," he said.
The former Barcelona coach blamed the unavailability of some key players as one of the reason for their recent dip in form.
"I think in the last few games, we have been missing some of the players. For example, in the game against Mumbai we were winning but then got a red card. When you are missing some key players in the positions it gets difficult. But there are no excuses. We have a good team. A team I believe that can be in the top four if we play to our potential," said Lobera.
While Lobera is desperate to get all three points from Thursday's game, his counterpart, John Gregory is keen to settle for a point. "This is a big game for both of us. We would want to get something out of this game, even if it's just a point," Gregory said at the pre-match press conference.
Chennaiyin FC were held to a 1-1 draw in their last game by bottom-placed Delhi Dynamos. But the Englishman feels that is nothing to be worried about. "We tend to play against big teams. We won in Bengaluru. We won in Pune and Jamshedpur. We haven't played well against lesser teams," he added.
In the reverse fixture between the two teams earlier in the season, FC Goa came out victorious 3-2 away from home something Chennaiyin FC would want to settle when they go out on the field.