Mumbai City FC head coach Petr Kratky encouraged his team to focus on a clean slate as they prepare for the second leg of their ISL semi-final against FC Goa, set to take place at the Mumbai Football Arena on Monday.

In the dramatic first-leg encounter, the Islanders made history with one of the ISL's most remarkable comebacks. They became the first team in playoff history to overturn a 0-2 deficit, clinching a last-minute 3-2 victory over FC Goa.

Indian forwards Lallianzuala Chhangte and Vikram Partap Singh played crucial roles in the comeback, scoring three goals between them in a rapid burst. Chhangte, who scored twice, delivered the decisive goal in the final minute of injury time, giving Mumbai City FC a slim one-goal aggregate lead, despite trailing throughout regulation time.

This astonishing turnaround sets the stage for an intense second-leg battle, with Mumbai City FC eager to maintain their momentum and secure their place in the final.

Kratky began the pre-match press conference by talking about the instructions he relayed to the team at half-time and during the last water break of the match.

"Half time we talk about the same things, you know, how to fix things, how to become better for the second half, and also believe we will score goals because that's our strength and that was basically it. Just to stick to our processes and just do it better and quicker and believe we will score goals. We believed it and we believed until the end and got rewarded," he stated during the press conference. 

Kratky continued, "When you're down 2-0 at 90 minutes or when the game is going to overtime, you know, how can I help the team, with substitutions and with their new energy, and that's what was basically coming through our minds. How we can help them on the pitch to change it, and we did what we did. It was a whole team effort, the whole team thinking behind it, how we can help them."

Substitutes Jayesh Rane and Gurkirat Singh were pivotal in Mumbai City FC's comeback win. Rane provided two crucial assists against FC Goa, while Singh played a key role in Vikram Partap Singh's goal, forcing a save from FC Goa goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh that led to Vikram's close-range equaliser. Their impactful contributions were instrumental in turning the game around for Mumbai City FC.

Talking about the impact of his substitutes, Kratky said: "I said to boys before, the bench is more important than anybody else, in terms of how you come in and make an impact, they did that and I am happy for that." 

The Mumbai City FC head coach shared his thoughts on the team's efforts so far this season, regardless of the upcoming match and its outcomes. 

He said, "This season, it's unbelievable. All the guys, all the team, and all the staff doing a fantastic job. I'm very proud of all of them. So regardless of what happened next game or after, you know we have had a very good season. You know, it wasn't easy, there were a couple of setbacks as everyone knows. But we can be just proud of ourselves, how we handle it, and how we keep going, so it's not easy football. It's a hard place to be sometimes. But again, that's what I really like about this group, that they stick together in hard times and push through it. So I'm very proud of every single one of them."

FC Goa will be seeking to bounce back in Mumbai after letting a two-goal lead slip in the first leg. Prior to that semi-final, the Gaurs had remained unbeaten against Mumbai City FC in the league stage, with both encounters ending in draws. Coach Petr Kratky expects a fierce battle from FC Goa and has urged his team not to get too fixated on defending their narrow one-goal advantage.

"We know it will be a difficult game. FC Goa is a quality team, we know that. We have to respect that, but for me what happened the last game doesn't matter. For me it's who wins this game goes through, so that's the main message for the boys. It's like starting 0-0 and we have to go for a win. We have to go and play our football and make sure to look after their strengths and use our power to play our football and score goals. So as per usual for me, it's 90 minutes against eleven players on the pitch. We play at home so we have to go for it. So it's a game like the others, just go and win the game." Kratky shared.

We have to give FC Goa a fight and win: Jayesh Rane

It was midfielder Jayesh Rane, who accompanied head coach Kratky for during the pre-match press conference ahead of their second leg semi-final clash against the Gaurs. 

Having played a major role in the team's recent win, the 31-year-old was asked to share the emotions that flooded his mind after the full-time whistle. 

"It feels very good to help the team. So it was an honor to help and It's my job, to be honest. I just, I am there as a midfielder to create chances. So that's what I did. It was nothing like extraordinary or anything but it was my job to do," he said in the pre-match press conference. 

Rane spoke highly of the mentality within the group and how the whole team needs to fight together as they look to reach the final.

"The mentality has been top-class since the start. We have been together, we have stayed together in the good times and difficult times. But the main thing was we were together. So that's the main strength of the team and that's what we have to do till the end now, be together," he said. 

The Mumbai-born player also spoke about their approach for the upcoming clash against the Gaurs and fight for a victory. 

"We just like to do simple things, we do what we have to do. As the coach has said we will stick to the plan and go, go for the win. And obviously, they are a good team. They will come here to fight, and we have to give them a fight and win the game," he responded.