The signs were there for all to see. After taking a 3-0 lead against Chennaiyin FC, FC Goa allowed the Super Machans to stage a comeback with Laxmikant Kattimani being at fault for both goals. However, coach Sergio Lobera came to his defence and stated that the FC Goa custodian is the best goalkeeper in India!
Such bomblastic statements are often made in order to show the player that the coach still trusts his abilities or probably a complete disregard to those watching football in India.
FC Goa’s chink in the armour was once again exposed by Mumbai which allowed them to pick three crucial points in what was their first home game. However, Lobera remained defiant and once again reiterated the same narrative.
Probably, one does feel sympathetic towards him as Kattimani is the best goalkeeper he has in his squad as opposed to in India. What’s worse is that they cannot even sign players to avert this crisis. The blame certainly has to be borne by the technical team at the club for not having thought of this.
At the other end, Mumbai had Amrinder Singh who made a fantastic save in the first half to deny Goa which highlighted the difference a good goalkeeper can make.
Coming to the game at the Andheri Sports Complex, the poor standards of refereeing continue in the fourth edition of the Indian Super League (ISL). Interestingly, it is the All India Football Federation (AIFF) who appoints these referees. Goa had a goal disallowed and Lucian Goian got away a couple of times for his challenges where he didn’t even manage to get a touch on the ball.
While Goa dominated the possession and created some good openings, it was Mumbai who looked threatening on the counter. Balwant Singh, who was rusty after recovering from an injury, would have easily had a hat-trick on any other day given the number of opportunities he had.
Mumbai realized the soft core of Goa and pressed them high and tackled them at every opportunity. As mentioned earlier, this Goa squad lacks in physicality and any team which can intimidate them can certainly impose themselves. Mumbai were dominant in the aerial duels with Gerson Vieira and Goian being stalwarts at the back.
Also the decision to go with an all-Indian defence and goalkeeper was a welcome invitation for Mumbai’s strikers to score. Such a daft decision in an away fixture certainly came to hurt Lobera’s side.