ISL 2018-19: FC Goa lacked a leader in the absence of Ahmed Jahouh

ISL Media
FC Goa do not have a single player in the mould of Jahouh who can intercept, tackle and play a defence-splitting pass...

It just took a little more than 13 minutes for Bengaluru FC to break down FC Goa's resistance in the absence of Ahmed Jahouh, Goa's midfield dynamo.

The Moroccan has been instrumental at the centre of the park with the most number of passes (1471), touches (1781), tackles (126) and to replicate his workload is not an easy task.

Goa missed the services of a player who would be in the thick of things in midfield playing both the roles of a creator and destructor and that allowed Bengaluru to take the game by the scruff of its neck in the final 15 minutes. After Jahouh was sent-off, Lenny Rodrigues could have stepped up and filled the shoes of his teammate. But the Goan had a forgetful outing on Sunday which allowed Dimas Delgado to have a field day at the office.

Rodrigues was lucky to escape a yellow in the 108th minute when he stuck out a leg to trip Luisma after the Spaniard had already dribbled past him. Minutes later, in spite of having time and space to find a cross for Brandon Fernandes on the left flank, he produced a poor delivery which was easily intercepted by Harmanjot Khabra. The two incidents portray how ineffective the 31-year-old was in the absence of Jahouh.

Lenny Rodrigues

The FUS Rabat loanee had his footprints all over the pitch as he covered every blade of grass to contain the creative forces in Bengaluru's midfield. His physical presence added steel in the area around the centre circle and his excellent positioning meant that Carles Cuadrat's men had to toil to find the right passing avenues.

Other midfielders like Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes are also not known for their defensive abilities, which further complicated matters for Goa. With Manvir Singh upfront, Coro dropped deep but the Spaniard was ill-at-ease all through the game. So, in the absence of an opposition player with good blocking and tackling characteristics, the task at hand further eased for Bengaluru.

The Gaurs sat deep and with no impedance in midfield, the champions were allowed the time to scan, look and find the right pass inside the box. An ineffective midfield meant that pressure mounted on Goa's defence which finally gave away in the 117th minute.

“The key moment of the match was when we went one man down in the extra time. I think it was a very tight game and it was going to be a matter of small details. The red card was a big handicap for us," Goa head coach Sergio Lobera opined after the defeat.