Top four race heats up as Goa, Jamshedpur clash in crunch tie

FC Goa will square off against Jamshedpur FC on Monday in a match which may prove to be crucial in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2018-19's top four race. The Gaurs are currently fourth in the table with 20 points from 11 matches, while Jamshedpur are just one point behind them in fifth after 12 matches.

The two teams have squared off on 3 occasions in the past, with Goa triumphing twice and Jamshedpur once.

FC Goa

Goa head coach Sergio Lobera will be eager to make the home advantage count and score a win on Monday in order to put some distance between themselves and the chasing pack. A loss would, however, see them drop off the top four making their quest for a playoff spot more difficult.

The Gaurs have been the most potent attacking force in the league so far, scoring a whopping 27 goals - the most by any team so far. Leading the charge from the front has been the talismanic Ferran Corominas, with 10 goals to his name. The creative brilliance of Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes and Jackichand Singh behind Coro has been the perfect foil for the Spaniard's prolific goal scoring prowess up front. The host of attacking players in the squad makes Goa a nightmare to defend against and the Gaurs have only strengthened their offensive arsenal in the January transfer window by roping in Moroccan attacking midfielder Zaid Krouch. Having played under Lobera before, the 28-year-old won't need much time to settle into the team's system.

The Gaurs' overtly attacking approach, however, comes with its own drawbacks. Having let in 17 goals, the Gaurs have the worst defensive record among the current top 6 teams in the table. In fact, the biggest of their three defeats this season came against Jamshedpur in the reverse fixture back in November, when the Miners trounced them 4-1. It will be interesting to see how Monday's encounter plays out.

Here’s a look at Goa’s current season in numbers:

Jamshedpur FC

Just a single point off the top four, Cesar Ferrando's men have all the motivation they need going into Monday's fixture. A victory over Goa will see them leapfrog the Gaurs and break into the top four as we enter the business end of the season.

Jamshedpur have lost just a single match in Hero ISL 2018-19, but 7 draws in their 12 matches so far have hurt their points tally this season. Their inability to see convert draws into wins have been a major concern throughout the first half of the season. To put it into context, Jamshedpur have conceded as many as six points from winning positions this season and Ferrando would have surely addressed the issue during the winter break.

Jamshedpur are expected to welcome back star players Sergio Cidoncha and Michael Soosairaj to the team after both missed quite a few matches just before the break due to injuries. The duo's return will be a big boost for the Miners, considering both have been the team's standout players so far this season. To recall, Soosairaj scored a brace against Goa at the JRD Tata Sports Complex earlier in the season and almost singlehandedly took the match away from the Gaurs. Jamshedpur have also signed experienced defender Augustin Fernandes for the remainder of the season, but he is unlikely to make an appearance on Monday since he is recovering from an injury.

Ferrando will, however, miss the services of Carlos Calvo owing to a suspension.

Here’s a look at Jamshedpur’s current season in numbers:

PROBABLE LINE-UPS:

FC GOA: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mohamed Ali, Mandar Rao Dessai (C), Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas

JAMSHEDPUR FC: Subrata Paul (GK), Raju Gaikwad, Tiri (C), Bikash Jairu, Robin Gurung, Mario Arques, Memo, Michael Soosairaj, Jerry Mawhmingthanga, Sergio Cidoncha, Tim Cahill

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Under Sergio Lobera, FC Goa have scored a massive 41 goals in 15 home matches.
  • Jamshedpur FC have 11 different goal scorers this season, the most for any side.
  • Carlos Calvo, who had contributed to 33.3% of Jamshedpur’s goals this season, is suspended for the match.

FANSPEAK

Which team will come out on top in the all-important match?

  • FC Goa
  • Jamshedpur FC

Have your say in the comments section below.

Catch the match live on the Star Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV at 7.30 PM.

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