Mumbai City FC are the best team in the league: FC Goa's Carlos Pena
FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena labelled Mumbai City FC's ruthlessness in front of the goal to be the decisive factor as the Gaurs lost 5-3 to the Islanders in the latest fixture of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa, on Saturday.
The high-octane fixture lived up to the billing with Noah Sadaoui opening the scoring in the fifth minute of the match. Greg Stewart scored the equaliser in the 18th minute with a brilliant free-kick from the edge of the box. Jorge Diaz gave the lead to the visitors in the 40th only for Brandon Fernandes to bring FC Goa back in the match in the 42nd minute. Greg Stewart scored his second goal and free-kick of the night in the 44th minute to give the lead to Des Buckingham's men going into half-time.
After a breathtaking first half, both teams started the second half looking to seal the three points. Lallianzuala Chhangte converted the penalty in the 71st minute after Anwar Ali handed the ball into the penalty box. Vikram Singh guided Mourtada Fall's header into the back of the net in the 77th minute to score the fifth goal of the night for Mumbai City FC. FC Goa pulled one goal back in the 84th minute with Brison Fernandes scoring the final goal of the fixture.
Mumbai City FC secured the League Shield Trophy with two games yet to play. The Islanders have managed to score in every single match of the season and racked up 53 goals in 18 matches. Pena shed light on how the Islanders punished every mistake made by FC Goa and in order to get the result against such opponents, FC Goa needs to have a perfect game in defence.
The Gaurs have slumped to the sixth position in the Hero ISL points table after suffering their seventh defeat of the season and with teams pushing to finish in the top six it's going to the wire for Pena's men. They play Chennaiyin FC in the next fixture and with a victory the Gaurs can jump to the fourth place. Mumbai City FC sit on the pole position after securing the League Shield Trophy with 10 points clear of second placed Hyderabad FC
The Islanders edge it at Fatorda. #ForcaGoa #UzzoOnceAgain #FCGMCFC #HeroISL pic.twitter.com/Kq26oXyTcy— FC Goa (@FCGoaOfficial) February 11, 2023
"We tried, we created enough chances to at least get a point against a very good team but with these kinds of teams especially with this (Mumbai City FC) any mistake you make, they're going to punish you. In the first half, it was not a fair result, they got three chances and scored three goals. We had even more chances but they had a very good level, you cannot make any mistake against them, you need to have a perfect game in defence and it was not possible. Now we focus on our next game against Chennaiyin FC," Pena said in the official post-match press conference.
He added: The opponent would be totally different in the next match. Mumbai City FC is the best team in the league with quality players. We faced them with ambition and tried to beat them but today, they were clinical in front of the goal, any chance they got they scored so congratulations to them for the League Shield and we focus on the next match.
FC Goa has failed to keep a clean sheet in the last nine matches. The Gaurs have conceded the most number of goals (30) in the top six. The Gaurs head coach stated that he prioritizes victories over clean sheets and the team needs to learn from the fixture against the Islanders and move on.
"I want to win points, I don't want to keep clean sheets. They scored with two free kicks and then one goal due to our mistake, another goal in the transition so it's time to realise that we cannot concede five goals at home against any team. We will try to learn and move on to the next one," Pena said.
The game was there to win for both teams till half-time with both teams trying to score at any given moment. Pena talked about the team talk in halftime and how this result cannot affect the team's momentum going into the most important game of the season against Chennaiyin FC.
"We talked about this in the dressing room when we were losing 3-2 but we were in the game and at any chance, we could've scored and won the game. They were clinical in the second half and scored with their chances so we need to learn. We were in good momentum and this game cannot affect us, we need the support from the fans more than ever. On Thursday we have the most important game of the season and we are going to get the three points in the next one," Pena concluded.