Goa brace for post-Lobera era with home match against Hyderabad
Having parted ways with long-time head coach Sergio Lobera, FC Goa are preparing for life without the enigmatic Spaniard at the helm. The Gaurs will be looking to make a good first impression in the post-Lobera era when they welcome Hyderabad FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. Engaged in a close three-way race to finish at the top of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 table, Goa need all three points against bottom-placed Hyderabad side in order to strengthen their claim for the summit spot.
Under a new management team consisting of interim coach Clifford Miranda, operating under the mentorship of Technical Director Derrick Pereira, Goa will be aiming to replicate the same intensity and panache they have produced under Lobera so far this season. Currently level on points with ATK at the top of the table, a home tie against the bottom side will be the perfect opportunity for Ferran Corominas and Co to put some distance between themselves and ATK, at least temporarily.
The Gaurs' attacking returns have been terrific this season, having already scored 32 goals - the most by any team. Defensively, though, Goa have struggled a bit, conceding 20 in 15 matches but most of their defensive woes have transpired on the road. The team has been solid at home, conceding just five in their own backyard. Facing off against a Hyderabad side which has lost their last seven away games on the trot, the likes of Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena will back themselves to enforce a clean sheet. Conceding early in the second half has been a worrying trend for Goa in the last couple of games and the team will be eager to avoid a repeat on Wednesday.
After missing out on getting on the score sheet for a couple of matches, Goa talisman Corominas returned to his familiar goal scoring ways in Goa's last outing against Odisha FC and the Spaniard will be eager to add to his tally of nine goals on Wednesday. Aiding Corominas in his pursuit, will be Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes and Jackichand Singh, all of whom have been in terrific form this season.
Midfielder Edu Bedia is suspended for the tie due to accumulated yellow cards, but Goa do have the luxury of welcoming back midfield maestro Ahmed Jahouh, who missed the Odisha tie due to suspension.
Despite being at the bottom of the table, Hyderabad have shown a lot of heart and grit in their last two outings under interim head coach Javier Gurri Lopez. After holding Mumbai to a 1-1 draw, Hyderabad did slump to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Bengaluru FC in their last outing but kept the defending champions on their toes for large portions of the match. In fact, the result could have turned out very differently if not for some brilliant goalkeeping by Bengaluru custodian Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, including a penalty save to keep out Marko Stankovic's effort.
With nothing to lose, Hyderabad will be looking to spoil Goa's party and home and will be bolstered by the addition of defender Souvik Chakrabarti and midfielder Hitesh Sharma, who joined from Mumbai City FC and ATK in the January transfer window.
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues, Ahmed Jahouh, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas
Hyderabad FC: Laxmikant Kattimani (GK), Souvik Chakrabarti, Matthew Kilgallon, Adil Khan, Asish Rai, Hitesh Sharma, Marko Stankovic, Nikhil Poojary, Giles Barnes, Marcelo Pereira, Bobo.
Did you know?
- Goa have conceded just 5 goals at home this season (second lowest).
- Hyderabad are yet to get a single point away from home this season.
- Goa have conceded 18 out of 20 goals in the second half (highest in the league).
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 74: FC Goa vs Hyderabad FC
Date: February 5 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV