Talking Point: Can Diego Mauricio dent FC Goa’s top-four prospects?
FC Goa will be targeting maximum points when they face Odisha FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday to stay on course for a top-four berth in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. The Gaurs are on a 10-match unbeaten run but have won just three games in that time, making it imperative for them to secure all three points on Wednesday. Odisha, on the other hand, are winless in their last eight games and will have their task cut out against an exuberant FC Goa attack that can blow away any opposition defence on their day. Here, we have a look at some of the talking points ahead of the contest.
Comeback kings FC Goa must start positively
One of the most resilient teams in Hero ISL 2020-21, the Gaurs have won 12 points after conceding the first goal – the most by a side this season. Their last match saw them rescue a point against Chennaiyin FC after conceding the first goal in a game for the 11th time in the ongoing campaign. They tend to excel in the second half of games having scored 16 times after the restart but will be eager to start strong against an Odisha team that has let in 19 out of 30 goals in the first period. Traditionally slow starters, Goa need to begin their match against Odisha on the front foot if they are to end a run of six consecutive draws.
Diego Mauricio can cause FC Goa problems
Diego Mauricio has been Odisha’s talisman this season and will be their biggest threat against a Goa defence that isn’t the most solid. He has netted nine out of Odisha’s 17 goals so far and can turn a match on its head in the blink of an eye. No player has scored more than his three goals from outside the box in Hero ISL 2020-21 and the Gaurs’ defence must deny him time and space to shoot whenever near their penalty area. Rested for Odisha’s last match in which he came off the bench, Mauricio will be fresh and raring to make his mark against FC Goa.
FC Goa must do more defensively
While the Gaurs are among the leading goal-getters in the league with 26 goals so far, their defence has let them down time and again in the ongoing campaign. They conceded 21 times and their last outing that was a 2-2 draw against Chennaiyin was their sixth game in the row in which they failed to keep a clean sheet. Individual lapses in their own half have been commonplace for Goa this season and custodian Dheeraj Singh has also had a few forgettable moments since joining the club recently. Dheeraj has made nine saves for Goa and has a save success rate of 52.94%, the least among goalkeepers with more than three matches.