A draw for Jamshedpur and a tactical victory for Cesar Ferrando was in store on Monday after a closely contested affair at Fatorda.
Ferrando’s mantra was simple – ensure that the talisman Ferran Corominas and creator Edu Bedia see very little of the ball. Midfielders Memo and Mario Arques were tasked with removing Bedia out of the attacking equation and force the ball wide.
Considering that Goa is a team that likes to score from crosses, this move was a rather bold, yet calculated one. Jackichand Singh was the outlet of every attack that Goa launched and Dhanachandra Singh did very well to contain him.
With the main men marked out of the game, Lenny Rodrigues was in possession more than any other player in Goa’s midfield and he lost the ball very often which set off Jamshedpur’s counters in the first half.
The absence of a player who can distribute the ball well and cut lines forced Hugo Boumous to drop deep and carry the ball up the pitch. But this meant that Goa were short of a man upfront and could not overload the wings.
The hosts were predictable in their play in the first half and Jackichand Singh’s one-dimensional play meant that the Jamshedpur defence was barely tested.
Things were set to change in the second half as a confident Jamshedpur decided to go for the win. Arques was now playing higher up the pitch, with his defensive duties cut off. The introduction of Tim Cahill added more firepower and an entertaining end-to-end brand of football ensued.
With the visitors employing a less conservative approach, Goa were allowed the freedom to express themselves and create more chances. The introduction of Ahmed Jahouh further contributed to some meaningful strings of possession, which usually ended with a good chance of a goal but lacked the final touch.
Corominas and Brandon Fernandes were at the end of some scorable chances, but they failed to make it count. This is where Subrata Paul’s heroic performance deserves a mention. Goa mustered 16 shots throughout the game, five of which were on target. Yet, none of them could get past Paul.
Ferrando deserves the credit for stopping Goa from scoring at Fatorda and although the Men of Steel have drawn too many games this season, he’ll gladly take this one. Considering that he did not allow a play-off contender to pull clear, this can be interpreted as a slight positive for the Spaniard.
Sergio Lobera can be proud of a good defensive performance and a rare cleansheet to go with it. But he must consider setting up a plan B which must be able to overcome a mid-block.