FC Goa will be fighting to survive and avoid an unwanted record in the Hero Indian Super League as they face Mumbai City FC at Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
Since the start of the Hero ISL in 2014, no team has gone without winning in the first five matches but should FC Goa lose or draw against Mumbai, the unwanted record will be theirs. It’s not that FC Goa and chief Zico have not been in this situation before: In 2014, FC Goa had only a point after the first four matches but recovered well to make it to the semi-finals.
This time too Zico remains confident that they can turn the corner, especially against a team that has remained winless in the last three matches.
“We are playing well. Even in games which we have lost, we could have had different results. We lost at least two matches largely due to our own mistakes rather than the merits of the other team,” Zico said during the pre-match media briefing.Mumbai City, on the other hand, are a transformed lot this season under Costa Rican coach Alexandre Guimaraes. They settled for a 3-3 draw against Delhi Dynamos in the last game and are placed second on the points table with eight points from five matches. Against Goa, they will look to displace NorthEast United FC from the top.
“We played a very good match. These kind of games are good for the health of the league,” said the Costa Rican coach when asked if he was disappointed that his side surrendered a two-goal advantage twice against Delhi Dynamos.
Just like FC Goa, Mumbai City strikers too have failed to fire. Except for the penalty from Diego Forlan, all other goals have come from the wingers or midfielders. The coach confirmed that Forlan will return to action after missing the last three games but there was no word yet on Anwar Ali and Leo Costa, both of whom were injured in the last game.
“FC Goa don’t deserve the results that they have right now. They have played courageous, brave, attacking football and this is what I am expecting on Friday. This is the way FC Goa qualified during the first season and made it to the final last year. This is football; sometimes it happens, but we know that when the opponent comes to play a game with this kind of necessity, it’s always more dangerous. We have to be cautious,” said Guimaraes.