FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez felt disappointed as his team were stunned by Mumbai City FC in the first leg of semi-final 2 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday.

The Gaurs stayed on top throughout the regulation time scoring a goal on either side of half-time agaisnt the Islanders. Boris Singh opened the scoring for FC Goa as early as 16 minutes into the game. Captain Brandon Fernandes then doubled their lead in the 56th minute, scoring a banger from outside the box.  

In the dying seconds of regulation time, Mumbai City FC turned things around with Lallianzuala Chhangte reducing the deficit for his team. In injury time, Vikram Partap Singh got on the scoresheet to help the visitors draw level. 

Petr Kratky’s men completed their miraculous comeback with Chhangte doubling his tally right before the full-time whistle, completing a stunning comeback for his team and helping them take a goal advantage into the second leg on April 29. 

FC Goa head coach Marquez believes they played one of their best games this season till the 86th minute before conceding three goals late in the game. 

My feeling is that we played maybe the best game in the competition till the 85th or 86th minute, and then we showed why we are not the champions of the Shield,” stated Marquez in the post-match press conference.

He added, “We conceded three goals today and this is the reason that we are not the champions of the Shield. We played a very good game tactically. They (the players) understood very good. Technically, the players played a very good game. Physically, because we played against a strong team, we were okay. The injury to (Mohammad) Yasir was a pity. But the most important part (what) we don't have is mentality,” he continued. 

Emphasizing his disappointment with his team's mentality and character after the loss, he shared, “We can concede one goal, this is football. Mumbai City FC scored 2-1 in the 86th or 87th minute, the game has to finish 2-1. That's all. But if you concede the 2-2 and the 2-3, it means that the team doesnt have character. I told them and they know perfectly. With everyone, I am very angry and I am disappointed. But the summary is very easy.. I cannot develop the character. You have (it) or you don't have (it). You cannot train this. We played a very good game. I can say nothing in a bad way to the players, but only this (character)."

The Gaurs created nine goal-scoring chances while also attempting 12 shots. However, they ended up on the losing side despite a positive performance on the field. Marquez demanded his players to pick themselves up and target for a comeback in the second leg.

“If I am a player today, I would be very angry (with) how Mumbai City FC celebrated the victory in our face. They have to know there are still 90 minutes. I think that if you show the correct character, let's see who will celebrate at the end of the game in Mumbai,” stated Marquez.

Marquez expressed satisfaction with the fans who didn’t give up on them and stuck with them till the very end. 

He said, “The fans were fantastic today. The atmosphere was very, very good. Fantastic for the players to play in this atmosphere. We knew had a big team in front of us. In some moments, it was a small team, because we played very good in some minutes. We are sad.. maybe this is the reason we love football because (of) these crazy things."

Brandon Fernandes, who was on the scoresheet for FC Goa, was taken off the pitch in the 85th minute. This was his third goal for the Gaurs in as many games, having also netted in the team's playoff clash against Chennaiyin FC. 

Justifying his decision to substitute the FC Goa captain, Marquez shared, “He couldn't press.”

He added, “If I see that Brandon is okay, I don't substitute him. But he was very, very tired. In fact, most of the substitutions, even Boris was completely dead.”

Yasir supplied the assist for Boris Singh's opener but was substituted in the 33rd minute after picking up an knock. The 26-year-old has been a crucial figure for FC Goa this season since joining them in January, contributing two goals and three assists. Marquez revealed that the midfielder could be a doubt for the second leg clash in Mumbai. 

“I feel that Yasir cannot play more in the season because even if we qualify for the final, it is on May 4th. It's my feeling because it is a muscle problem with the hamstring. Maybe it's nothing, I wish, but difficult that he can play both games,” he signed off.