In the first leg of their ISL semi-final, FC Goa shared spoils with Chennaiyin FC after Manuel Lanzarote’s strike was cancelled out by Anirudh Thapa. Reflecting on the performance on Saturday, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera admitted that although his team saw the ball more, they lacked numbers in attack.
"We had possession but it was very far away from the opponent's goal. We didn't have enough numbers when we were close to the goal. So, what this result shows is that the team was a little bit divided and physically it cost us a little bit as well,’’ he explained.
Further, the Spaniard stated that it was challenging to face a side as tough as Chennaiyin FC at Fatorda but it won’t be impossible to net goals at Marina Arena on March 13. "I think the result is yet to be decided. From what we have here, for us to go through, we need to score there. It was a little difficult to get a result against a team which is as well organised and defensively strong as they were today (Saturday). But having said that, for us, it's not such an obstacle to go there and try and score a goal,’’ he commented.
The Goa midfield missed the presence of Hugo Boumous who was replaced by Edu Bedia due to an injury. The 41-year-old gaffer believes that the Moroccan would be available for the reverse leg. ‘’We think he will recover in time for the next game. We also wanted to ensure we are not taking any risk and just because the player was out, it doesn't mean that we can put the excuse on that. It was responsible on my part to do that,’’ he revealed.
Also, following a red card suspension, Naveen Kumar was ruled out of the game which meant Laxmikant Kattimani started between the sticks. When asked if Kattimani would feature in the next match, Lobera said, ‘’To have two goalkeepers (Laxmikant Kattimani and Naveen Kumar) of a good level is obviously good for a coach. About who is going to play, you will have the answer in three days time.’’
Although the Abhishek Bachchan co-owned outfit have grabbed an away goal, things won’t be easy for them as Goa have a good record of scoring in away ties. ‘’We are confident. We haven't lost anything. Obviously, it's not a result we would have liked. The result is completely open.
"We are a team who normally score a lot of goals and why can't we do it there. My confidence is maximum. I think we have a lot of possibilities to be in the final and we have to do things very well in the next game.’’ expressed the former Barcelona C manager.
When asked if the Gaurs could repeat their 3-2 winning performance from Chennai when they fly to the southern city next week, Lobera answered, ‘’We were capable of doing that there but right now the circumstances need to serve us as a form of a motivation. Keeping in mind what happened in the past has nothing to do with how it will be in the next couple of day's time (Tuesday). We have to prepare well, recover the players as quickly as possible and go there and try to win.’’