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The Flaming Oranje began their season in a fantastic manner but failed to end it similarly. Goal's Kaustav Bera analyses and gives his verdict...

SPECIAL
By Kaustav Bera

Goal in its end of season special analyses the performance of all the teams in India's top flight and in this piece, we focus on Sporting Clube de Goa


Sporting Clube de Goa


Expectation :  After finishing a respectable sixth in the I-League 2012-13, Sporting Goa were in prime position to challenge for a top four berth. Oscar Bruzon had taken over from Ekendra Singh in the middle of last season and had engineered their brilliant finish. Hence there was positive murmurs after Oscar was kept in-charge last summer. Having retained the brilliant Ogba Kalu, Bruzon was given solitary charge of recruiting the foreign contingent and he managed to bring in Arturo Garcia in midfield with fellow Spaniard Gonzalo Neila in defense. Boima Karpeh was signed on as the fourth foreigner to lead the line. 

Result: It would be fair to say Sporting Goa’s spectacular collapse during the second half of the season contributed to
STAT OF THE SEASON 

Sporting Clube de Goa are the only
I-League team to finish with a
Goal Difference of ZERO. 
them finishing in fifth, just a point off fourth place Dempo SC and a further four away from Salgaocar FC. The season started off brightly for them with them garnering eight wins in their first fifteen games of the season. They amassed a total of four consecutive wins in the month of December, with an all-important win over Salgaocar FC in the Goan derby. An inspiring run in the Federation Cup saw them reach the finals, where they were beaten 3-1 by Churchill Brothers. Belief was sky high as the entire team believed that they could mount a challenge for the I-League title being second in the table before the winter break. However what followed  nothing short of a nightmare. They won just ONCE in their following eleven I-League fixtures as five thumping losses and six debilitating draws all but ended their hunt for the title as well as a top three finish.  

The Coach : In his first full season in-charge and given a free hand by the management, he succeeded in making smart buys including Garcia who was absolutely magnificient and was the prime reason for leading Sporting's charge in the first half with his imperious midfield displays.


 
Bruzon had engineered a style of play which was focused on keeping possession and overloading the opponents' defense. However unlike the Sporting of old which leaked in goals, the inclusion of Gonzalo and Arturo meant a bit more solidity at the back. Although their collapse in the second half prevented them from achieveing even greater heights, they can chin up and build for the next season in all earnest.

Where it went wrong
: The single most important turning point which led to their 11 match winless run was the injury to Arturo Garcia which subsequently led to him being released by the club. His replacement, Martins Ekwueme did not have the necessary time to adjust to the league and was brought in too late. The second half of the season was a fall from grace for the high punching Flaming Oranje who had been challenging for the I-League title. If the result against Churchill in the final of the Federation Cup was a demoralizing, the subsequent displays of ineptness that followed, was cataclysmic.

Top 3 Performances

1. Sporting Clube de Goa 5-1 Shillong Lajong

2. Sporting Clube de Goa 2-0 Pune FC

3. Rangdajied United 1-2 Sporting Clube de Goa


Top Player of the Season
Arturo Garcia 

Garcia was the midfield general who led Sporting's stunning early season surge

The reason Sporting Clube de Goa was punching above their weight was due to the towering presence of the Spaniard who excelled in breaking up play and was equally comfortable in going forward to build up attack. It was solely because of him that Sporting looked less vulnerable at the back this season. In the 13 matches that he played for the Flaming Oranje, they lost just thrice. His influence on the team was also realized even more after his injury and Sporting's dramatic decline in form.

Flop Player of the Season
Singam Rojen Singh

Singh was guilty of conceding too much space in the games he played

Although Sporting's season took a collective nose dive after the Federation Cup, Singam Rojen Singh's form was always suspect. Ever a liability at right back, in the 13 matches that he turned up for the Flaming Oranje, they won only four. This culminated in a horrendous performance against East Bengal in Kolkata, where he was torn apart by Joqauim Abranches.

Next season if God wants the things to go well, we will target more ambitious goals"

- Oscar Bruzon
(Sporting clube de Goa manager)


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