FC Goa have picked up eight points from their last eight Indian Super League (ISL) matches. However, three of those points came against Jamshedpur FC in a fixture which would probably be remembered for refereeing gaffes than Goa’s win.
Yes, Goa have been scoring goals - 11 in their last eight matches but have conceded 15 as well. It was only after the 2-2 draw against NorthEast United that Sergio Lobera acknowledged that they have an issue at the back.
The first person to be chopped from the starting XI in the following game in Bangalore was skipper Laxmikant Kattimani, a goalkeeper Lobera publicly hailed as the best in the league.
While Naveen Sudhakaran gave a good account of himself, it is the overall defensive organisation of the team which was in shambles. The manner in which they conceded the two goals is a further testament to that fact.
Edu Garcia, one of the shortest players on the pitch, was allowed time and space to head the ball home from a corner. Two players, namely Ahmed Jahouh and Seriton Fernandes, failed to close him down. This wasn’t the only instance when Bengaluru won the aerial duels from set-pieces as Goa’s marking was atrocious.
For the second goal, there were three tackles made. Jahouh, Chinglengsana Singh and Mohammed Ali made their challenges but couldn’t clear the lines. Jahouh tackled Edu Garcia but the latter managed to find Toni Dovale. Boithang Haokip was tackled twice and the ball came straight to Dovale who smartly headed it forward.
None of the Goa players tracked the run of Dimas Delgado and the former Numancia medio placed it into the back of the net. The Goa players were busy appealing for offside but none took notice of Delgado all the while.
The Gaurs have a tough run of fixtures and with form not being on their side, Lobera has a massive task ahead. Yes, they have improved from last season when they finished at the bottom of the table but for all the promise shown earlier, they are fast beginning to disintegrate.
Teams have realised that Goa do not have a strong core. Except for a few players in attack, if teams can somehow get beyond Jahouh in midfield, on most occasions they are successful in an attempt on goal.
Should Jamshedpur FC win their game against NorthEast United on Saturday, Goa will be under tremendous pressure to deliver results. However, their confidence at the back is at an all-time low and visiting teams would back themselves to at least score a couple.
Their reputation for being the most attacking unit is fast changing. Lobera would have by now realised that scoring goals alone cannot save them.
Credit must also be given to Albert Roca as he has changed his team’s style of play. Last season in the I-League, they would have a lot of possession but couldn’t penetrate. Once again, Bengaluru FC didn’t see more of the ball on home soil but were the better team on the night.