It was a very equal game: FC Goa’s Carlos Pena on defeat to ATK Mohun Bagan
FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena felt the game was even after his side went down against ATK Mohun Bagan in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, on Wednesday.
It was all square at half-time after Anwar Ali cancelled out Dimitri Petratos' opening goal, but Hugo Boumous netted the winner against his former club in the second half to secure all three points for the Mariners. The result sees ATK Mohun Bagan climb back to the third spot in the Hero ISL standings while FC Goa continue to stay in the fifth position.
Pena stated the game was equal between both the sides heading into the break and that his side got punished for their mistakes.
"I think it was a very equal game. In the first half, they scored first with the action of the striker (Petratos) and we were not focused in that moment. But the team came back after that moment. We started controlling the game and playing in the opposition half. We could have scored before half-time and we went into the dressing room with a good feeling. The game was where we wanted (it to be)," Pena stated at the post-match press conference.
"But in the second half, we made a big mistake.. knowing that they are very dangerous in these transitions and they punished us. After that, we tried, but with no order. We created less chances than what we wanted. I tried to make some changes, but it didn’t work and we couldn’t get the three points," he explained.
Pena made a bold decision to drop FC Goa's top goalscorer, Noah Sadaoui, to the bench while opting to start with Alvaro Vazquez upfront. Sadaoui came on in the second half, but couldn't make an impact. The Gaurs continued to create chances, but lacked the finishing touch.
Talking about his decision to bench Sadaoui, Pena said: "Maybe in the second half Noah could help us with the spaces. I decided to put Alvaro and Iker to control the ball more. I felt that Alvaro could give us more continuity during the game and also, we had problems with injuries in the second half. And we couldn’t follow the plan."
FC Goa are currently eight points off league leaders Mumbai City FC, who have a game in hand. For most part of the season, the Gaurs have been in the top six, but have struggled to maintain consistency away from home. Pena encouraged his side to move on from the defeat and shift focus to their upcoming game against Hyderabad FC.
"We are going to be in the fight for the playoffs. We have eight more games remaining and we will have all the chances to make the top six. We will keep fighting and we will move on to the next game which we have at home (against Hyderabad FC). This team is not going to give up. Today, we can be sad and things are difficult for us. But we have to keep working and move on to the next game," he said.