FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez was happy to secure all three points against Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Thursday. 

Bengaluru FC kicked off in style with Shivaldo Singh bagging an early goal in the second minute of the match to give the Blues the lead. In the 22nd minute, Odei Onaindia scored the equalizer as he redirected a shot by Boris Singh into the back of the net. In the 81st minute, Borja Herrera sent in a pitch-perfect square through pass which Boris Singh Thangjam tapped into an empty net to finish the match 2-1 for the Gaurs.

Two minutes into the second half, Gerard Zaragoza’s side was reduced to 10 men as Suresh Singh Wangjam received his marching orders with a straight red card for dangerously raising his foot at Boris Singh Thangjam after a clumsy tackle on the FC Goa midfielder.

The head coach was happy that his team was able to equalize before the end of the first half, considering it a key moment in the game, but a moment that Marquez believes decided the game was Wangjam’s red card.

We equalized before half-time, which was important. And it's true that the action of the red card, for Suresh (Singh Wangjam), obviously, was a key factor in the second half. One of the most difficult things in football is indeed when you play against one team, with ten players behind the ball, with a lot of order. And finally, yes, we created some chances,” stated Marquez in the post-match press conference.

He continued, “It's difficult when you play with 10 (players) and the other team plays with 11 (players). It’s difficult to say if it's fair or not. In terms of how the game was for me, it’s fair, but obviously, this action (the red card) was a key (factor) in the game.”

The Spaniard started the match with players like Jay Gupta, Borja Herrera, and Udanta Singh on the bench. However, when they eventually took to the pitch, Gupta and Herrera combined to create the winning goal for the Gaurs.

Happy with the squad depth that allows him to utilize players like Gupta and Herrera from the bench, he shared, “I think that, finally, this is a squad. And you need all the players in good condition, who are ready to play. I think today we are happy because we won the game. But this is a very equal competition.” 

After a poor run of games since the league restarted its second half, FC Goa has finally managed to regain its initial form, registering seven points from their last three games.

The 55-year-old is glad to see his team playing good football again and wants them to keep going.

“The team is playing well. And now we have this small break and then (we will) keep going and let's see where we can finish,” he said.

FC Goa currently sit third on the league table with 36 points from their 19 games, only three points behind league leaders Mumbai City FC. Marquez’s men will take the field next on April 5, 2024, when they host Hyderabad FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa.

Marquez wrapped up the press conference by addressing their chances of winning the League Shield and sharing insights into how he is leading the team into the final phase of the league.

“Next game is at home against Hyderabad FC. Let's see if we get the three points. And let's see what happens in the other games. We need to do our work. The other things we cannot control,” he concluded.