FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez expressed his disappointment after his team played out a 3-3 draw with Punjab FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. 

FC Goa secured an early lead through Carl McHugh, only to find themselves trailing twice during the game against Punjab FC. In the second half, Wilmar Jordan Gil and Luka Majcen scored for Punjab FC, but Noah Sadaoui equalised for FC Goa with a penalty, making it 2-2. Juan Mera then put Punjab FC ahead once again, but a late winner from Carlos Martinez salvaged a crucial point for FC Goa in an away match.

With this result, FC Goa became the fourth team to qualify for the playoffs this season, joining Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Odisha FC, and Mumbai City FC. Despite having the best defensive record this season, conceding only 16 goals in 18 games, FC Goa has faced challenges in their last seven fixtures, letting in 12 goals. Notably, all the goals conceded against Punjab FC occurred in the second half, leading to dissatisfaction from Marquez.

“If it’s fair or unfair (the score), it doesn't matter. I think we don't have enough team (spirit) to fight for the Shield. This is the reality because we don't have character. I saw the statistics..20 (shots), I don't know how many (exactly) but nine on target. When you don't have Ogbeche in your team, it’s very difficult. You can have a lot of players that people like a lot but if they don't find the net, you can play 70 hours,” he said in the post-match press conference. 

“Today we scored three goals and then we conceded. We conceded I don't know how many goals in the competition, but four in half-time in Kerala (against Kerala Blasters FC) and three in half time today. Without character, without personality, we are in the position we deserve. We don't deserve to be fighting for the Shield,” he added. 

Despite FC Goa's dominance with over 60 percent possession and nine shots on target, they were unable to breach Punjab FC's goalkeeper Ravi Kumar. In contrast, Punjab FC capitalised on all three of their shots on target and came away with a point. Marquez pointed out the inconsistency in his team's performances throughout the season, considering it a significant setback in their quest for the League Shield.

“Today is our 18th game. If you check the statistics, in all 18 games, we have created more chances than the opponent and then there are some things that doesnt work. And maybe people think that this is the best part of our team (creating more chances than the opponent) and I can tell you that this is not the best part of our team. When you play like this: one day very good, one day bad, one day normal, if you are not consistent, you cannot fight for nothing, in this case the Shield,” he explained.