Lobera singles out Jahouh’s red card as the turning point of the final
It was a matter of so close yet so far for FC Goa as they missed out on the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) trophy yet again on the final day of the season. Despite going toe-to-toe with eventual champions Bengaluru FC for the entire 90 minutes and the majority of Extra Time, the Gaurs' resilience came undone in the dying minutes of Extra Time as they went down to a late goal by Rahul Bheke.
Disappointed Goa head coach Sergio Lobera was present at the post-match press conference and started off by highlighting the key moment of the match - Ahmed Jahouh's red card. "I think the key moment was that we went one man down at the end of the first half of Extra Time. I think it had been a tight game. I felt it was going to be a matter of small details and the sending off was a big handicap for us for the second half," he said.
The loss was Goa's third defeat in as many matches against Bengaluru this season. Asked if he thought that the Blues had the Gaurs' tactics figured out and the means to counter them every time, he responded, "I think Bengaluru haven’t been better than us. Also, I think we haven’t been better than Bengaluru. I think it has been a very tight final. It’s tough losing the game this way. I think we have played a very good game. I’m very proud of the work done by my players. We also were facing a great team. And for me, it was a game that anyone could have won."
Even after losing Jahouh at the end of the first period of Extra Time, Lobera waited till the team went a goal down to bring on Hugo Boumous. Pushed for an explanation for his decision, Lobera stated, "I had to play six Indian players on the pitch. So, that didn’t let me put Boumous earlier. From the form of the foreign players on the pitch, two were centre-backs, one was Edu Bedia, one was Ferran Corominas. And Boumous is a more attacking player. So, it was difficult to make that substitution with a man down."
Looking back at the season, 42-year-old said, "To be honest, I think it is a competition that is very well organized. I’m very happy to be part of it. I want to congratulate the Hero ISL, the way it is organized, the way it is run. We have enjoyed a lot."
Read the Match Report here.