Coach Floyd Pinto is aware that his team is up against one of the best teams in the country. However, he is confident of a good show from his young team and believes that the spectators are in for a treat.
“You are playing against a team that made it to the Indian Super League (ISL) final. You are playing against one of the best attacking sides in the country. It will be a tough game, but on the flip side, I think we are one of the top three teams when it comes to the form in the last few games this season. So, we would like to take that to the game and make it a good game for the spectators.
“Throughout the I-League, among the grounds we have played in, I think this (Kalinga stadium, Bhubaneswar) rates in the top two. Apart from Salt Lake, this is the best pitch in the country and I think all the teams playing in the Super Cup would enjoy playing here,” he said.
The 32-year-old expects Goa to be fuelled by desire to win after facing a heartbreak against Bengaluru FC in the final of the ISL. He said - “It will be a good game because both teams don’t like to sit back. Both teams want to be involved in the game and play at a good tempo. The team that makes the better decisions and least mistakes will come out on top.
“We need to be the best that we can be in this match. You are not just playing against the Gaurs, you are playing against the wounded Gaurs. There is going to be an extra motivation, an extra desire within them to do well. I think we need to overcome that at the beginning of the game and then play it at our pace."
When asked if Ahmed Jahouh’s absence would play a major role in deciding the outcome of the game, Pinto said, "“He is a big player, no doubt. He is one of the players that makes Goa what they are. Irrespective of that, there are many other players who are paying. If he was there, we would have planned something about him. But he’s not there, so we need to plan for the other players.
“The Indian players too are playing at a much higher level than those from other clubs. We need to be aware of them too. We need to play as a group and if we do that, collectively we can get the advantage against Goa,” he stated.
Ferran Corominas, arguably the best player in the ISL will be waiting to pounce upon the Arrows defence but Pinto expects his team to keep the Spaniard at bay. He admitted that he could take a leaf out of Bengaluru’s book and ensure that the striker is not serviced well.
“Good luck to Anwar (Ali) tomorrow. The main way to defend against hi (Corominas) is to play collectively. We aim to stop the service to him. If we do that, we stop him from getting the ball and I think Bengaluru FC did that very well in the ISL final. We can take something from that and apply it on the pitch.
“Yes, we will be in certain situations where he does come into play and I hope that our defenders can be as strong as they have been throughout the season. We have kept a clean-sheet against an ISL team in our last game and it will be great if we can do it again. But I think if we can get a couple of goals and put them off, that will be the game-changer for us,” Pinto admitted.
The Arrows boss maintained that Arrows won’t be adopting a defensive approach. Rather, they will be looking for a couple of goals which could put Goa on the backseat.
“I don’t think it will be just Goa’s attack against Arrows’ defence. We have added another edge to our game and are now as dangerous on the ball as we are off the ball. We are not a team who will sit back and wait for the ball to come to us.
“We want to keep the ball and show Goa what we can do with it, similar to how we did against Kerala. We made good decisions on the pitch and got two goals in that game. If we can make good decisions, use some set-pieces and score some goals, we automatically put Goa off their game and that will be the aim.
“No injuries, but Jitendra (Singh) is suspended. The squad has come back pretty well from the U-23 camp. All of them have recovered and the boys who have been training here have been training well. The spirits are high and we are ready for tomorrow,” Pinto concluded.