Mandar Rao Dessai: We have learned from our defensive mistakes

FC Goa ensured their play-off qualification with a 3-0 victory over Kerala Blasters FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Monday. The victory also helped the Gaurs topple Bengaluru FC from the top of the table and take over the perch for themselves.

After the match, caught up with Goa captain Mandar Rao Dessai for his post-match reaction. Here's what he had to say.

Thoughts on the match.

This match has taken us to the semi-finals. We have qualified. Our head coach always said that each and every match is important. So, we had to win this match and qualify for the semi-finals. We took a clean sheet once again. So, I am happy. The team is happy. All of us are happy.

On FC Goa's improved defence.

Yes, from the last few matches, the team's defence has improved a lot. We have learned from our defensive mistakes and even if we are making them, we try and rectify them. We try to stay compact in the defence because even if we can't score, we don't want to concede also. So, that is the main thing. I think we are doing well and it is a good result for us.

FC Goa are at the top of the standings. How are you feeling?

Yes, it is good for us but you just have to be in the top-four to be in the semi-finals. I think it is good for us to be at the top and we just have to concentrate on the next few matches before the semi-finals. The next two matches are also important to us. We will concentrate on the match against Bengaluru FC and go for the last match against Chennaiyin FC.

From the Kerala squad, a disappointed Courage Pekuson shared his thoughts on the night's performance. Here are the excerpts.

How would you assess tonight's performance?

We allowed them to play how they like to play normally, which starts from the back. In the first-half, we tried to stay up to stop them from controlling the match but they took control of the match.

FC Goa scored two goals in quick succession. What do you think happened there?

We were down in the defence. We lost a little bit of concentration and they took advantage.

Did Kerala Blasters FC miss out on a few tricks today?

FC Goa were not too much for us. We blocked a couple of shots which didn't go in the goal. I had three shots blocked and I think, luck was just not with the team today.

What was Kerala Blasters FC's plan to come back into the match in the second-half?

In the second-half, we tried to stop them from coming into our half and creating chances. Then we tried to rely on our strength - our pace in counter-attacks. But it didn't work out for us.

Read the match report here.

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