ISL 2018-19: Have FC Goa addressed their problems in goal?

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Lalthuammawia Ralte and Laxmikant Kattimani will compete for a place in goal at FC Goa this season...

For the initial part of the 2017-18 season of Indian Super League (ISL), FC Goa were the team to beat. 

Under coach Sergio Lobera, the team played scintillating football. However, despite their domination on the field, they fell short of the title and crashed out to a solid Chennaiyin FC in the semi-final.

Of the top six teams in the league, FC Goa had conceded the most number of goals (28). The Gaurs often managed to outscore their opposition in matches and as the season progressed, their defence was criticised. 

Most of the criticism fell on goalkeeper and skipper Laxmikant Kattimani. The Goan custodian couldn't manage a single clean sheet during what was a troubling campaign for him. He has only kept five clean sheets in his four seasons with FC Goa in ISL.

Naveen Kumar Virender Singh Laxmikant Kattimani FC Goa

While the defenders will have to share some of the blame for the poor defensive record of FC Goa, the goalkeeping blunders do not help Kattimani's argument. He made silly mistakes more than once and a few of them had led to goals. 

Lobera defended his captain and even went on to tag him as 'the best goalkeeper in the league.' But that did not hide FC Goa's weakness in between the sticks. Naveen Kumar was soon slotted into the first team line-up midway through the season but has now joined Kerala Blasters. 

Having a good goalkeeper is essential to any title challenge and FC Goa signed Lalthuammawia Ralte from Bengaluru FC to provide competition to Kattimani. After having spent most of last season as second-choice to Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Ralte now has a chance to make Goa's goal his own. 

Lalthuammawia Ralte Amrinder Singh Bengaluru FC training session

Both goalkeepers are experienced campaigners. Although Ralte started only two games for the Blues in the league, he has played 10 games in the AFC Cup this year. At FC Goa, however, Ralte will be tested more often due to the expansive nature of their football. 

Kattimani, who is already on a multi-year contract at the club, will be playing his fifth season for the Gaurs this year and he will be expected to compete for places once again. He will be hoping that last season was just a blip now that the possibility of a fresh start is around the corner. Sometimes, all it takes is a little bit of confidence and last season's under-fire man will be desperate to make amends. 

The competition in the ISL is increasing and both Kattimani and Ralte are faced with a big challenge as FC Goa targets the trophy in the fifth edition of ISL. Which of these two goalkeepers can make the first team spot their own?

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