Stakes higher than ever as Goa host Mumbai in crunch tie
Match 80 of the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 will see FC Goa welcome Mumbai City FC to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday. With 33 points from 16 matches, the Gaurs are already through to the semi-finals, but still have a fight on their hands in order to finish at the summit of the table and a win in the tie will go a long way in helping their cause. Making things complicated for them on Wednesday, will be the determined Islanders, who are fighting to stay in the top four.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Goa came out as comprehensive 4-2 victors to better their terrific head-to-head record over the Mumbai-based club.
Despite the shock departure of former head coach Sergio Lobera, Goa’s on-field performance hardly saw any noticeable dip in their last outing against Hyderabad FC. Ferran Corominas and Co came out on top as 4-1 winners. It was also the fourth time this season that the club managed to score four goals in a match.
Mumbai have, in the recent past, found it difficult to cope with Goa’s attack and will be especially wary of the Gaurs’ appetite for goals late in matches. Despite not having scored a single goal in the opening 15 minutes of a match so far this season, Goa are the highest scorers in the league, largely owing to their unmatched scoring affinity after the 75th minute. The club has netted a league-high 11 goals in the last 15 minutes and added time of matches, a tally which accounts for 30.56% of their total number of goals this season.
Goa’s philosophy has had a major say in that, with the team excelling at wearing down opposition defences with their quick passing and subsequently taking advantage late on. On an average, the Gaurs have completed more than 475 passes per game this season – almost 70 more than any other team this term. Currently chasing the top spot and a win, the ploy will hardly be any different against Mumbai come Wednesday.
The last gasp win over Jamshedpur FC in their last match helped Jorge Costa’s men take a big step towards earning a place in the semi-finals. Bidyananda Singh, who scored the late winner, was the club’s 14th different goal scorer so far this season – a new record in the Hero ISL. Eight of those unique scorers are Indians, which is also a new record. These stats exemplify just how diverse the Islanders’ attacking options have been this campaign.
Striker Modou Sougou will be back for the Goa tie after serving a one-match suspension against Jamshedpur. His presence and pace will surely help the Islanders, who at times, looked a bit scrappy and unsure while going forward against Jamshedpur. The 35-year-old is pivotal to Jorge Costa’s counter-attacking style and against a Goa side, who tend to have control of the ball for substantial portions of matches, Sougou’s ability to worry opponent defenders on the break will be crucial. Especially with Amine Chermiti out of contention due to a suspension, Costa might be tempted to start Sougou at the tip of the attack.
Mumbai were sensational on the road in the first half of the season, but have, of late, found it a little more difficult, having picked up just a point in their last two away matches. A win in the match will be crucial for the Islanders, heading into their potential six pointer against Chennaiyin.
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas
Mumbai City FC: Amrinder Singh (GK), Subhasish Bose, Mato Grgic, Sarthak Golui, Pratik Chaudhari, Diego Carlos, Mohamed Larbi, Rowllin Borges, Sourav Das, Bidyananda Singh, Modou Sougou
Did you know?
- Goa have won 6 out of 8 matches at home this season, including their last five on a trot.
- Goa have scored 18 goals at home this season – highest in the league.
- Mumbai have lost just 1 match away from home this season - lowest in the league.
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 80: FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC
Date: February 12 (Wednesday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV