ISL 2018-19: Miguel Palanca has massive boots to fill at FC Goa

Miguel Palanca will be the man expected to take the team forward following the departure of Manuel Lanzarote...

The football that FC Goa played in the 2017-18 season of Indian Super League (ISL) was a breath of fresh air for the lovers of the sport across India.

The attacking flair combined with dominance in possession attracted praise from all over and Sergio Lobera's tactics quickly raised the bar for other teams in the league. In fact, his teams topped the charts for the most number of goals scored, touches, passes and shots taken last season. Talk about dominance!

It wasn't all down to the head coach of course. The team was a well-gelled unit and with Ahmed Jahouh and Edu Bedia bossing the midfield, the remaining ingredient for an attacking football recipe was a lethal attack. And that is where the deadly combination of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote worked so well. 

The Spanish attacking duo produced 31 goals and that accounted to more than 72 per cent of the total goals scored by the club throughout the season. With 13 goals and 5 assists to his name, Lanzarote was the mastermind pulling the strings in the attacking third. 

Lanzarote FC Goa Jamshedpur FC ISL 4 2017/2018

A rift with Sergio Lobera, as posted on social media by the player himself, forced him to move out of the club. ATK snapped up his signature soon after and FC Goa were left chasing a replacement. 

Spanish forward Miguel Palanca Fernández was roped in mid-August as Sergio Lobera looked to wrap up his transfer activities and get his boys to do the talking on the pitch.

Having featured for the likes of Real Madrid and Espanyol in LaLiga, the 30-year-old is an experienced and versatile footballer who can slot in anywhere across the frontline. "Palanca is a very experienced player. He can play in many positions and not only has great dribbling skills but also knows how to finish," remarked Lobera upon the player's arrival.

Does the skillset sound similar?

Miguel Palanca

Palanca's first-team action at Real Madrid was in the form of three substitute appearances that spanned a little more than 100 minutes. But as in Lanzarote's case and ISL in general, career history has little to no effect on how their displays turn out in ISL. 

The 2006-07 UEFA Europa League finalist will be expected to make an impact similar to Lanzarote's. Having already played alongside Coro during their time together at Espanyol, Palanca has managed to tick one box even before he has made his debut. The service to Corominas is crucial to FC Goa's gameplan and supporters will be either licking their lips or biting their nails already. 

Goa's loss might be ATK's gain this season but that is now a closed chapter. It is now Palanca's chance to script a new beginning.