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Before we were not so bad and now we're not so good, says Carlos Pena

Published at :January 27, 2023 at 5:18 AM
Modified at :January 27, 2023 at 5:18 AM
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Riddhiman Sarkar

The Gaurs won their second game running as they scored four goals for the first time this season.

FC Goa pegged back SC East Bengal in a dominant 4-2 win at the Fatorda in ISL 2022-23 on Thursday. The Goan outfit raced into an early lead courtesy of in-form attacker Iker Guarrotxena who took advantage of East Bengal’s static defending. Noah was almost poised to finish the move after collecting from Murgaonkar but he left it for the onrushing Spaniard. Ten minutes later the false 9 struck again, this time letting his predatory instincts loose. Noah played provider once again with a cross that Iker headed home valiantly from the near post. Only two minutes later, Sanson Pereira headed Brandon’s overhit corner back into the box. The forward was on spot once again, to score with an acrobatic poke and cap off a brilliant hat trick. 

After the break, East Bengal added two to their tally but to no avail as Goa added one of their own. Skipper Brandon Fernandes scored a peach of a free-kick in splendid fashion before VP Suhair and Sarthak Golui got on the scoresheet. Carlos Pena was one happy man as he was seen clutching his head in disbelief at Brandon's goal and rejoiced about his team's performance. The manager attended the post-match press conference and addressed the media regarding the specifics.   

On Brandon’s free-kick and contribution

Carlos Pena’s side were outstanding, to say the least. While Guarrotxena single-handedly pried the Kolkata-based open, Brandon Fernandes added a bit of his own flair. The mentor was as awestruck as any other fan as he praised his squad captain and commented: 

“Amazing, simply amazing. The goal he scored was amazing and not only the goal but the work he did and how he played during the game (were equally good). So, I’m very happy for him because I know he wants to add assists and goals to his contributions. But I would also like to appreciate, as always, his work rate and commitment. ”

On Iker Guarrotxena’s contribution and his views regarding the same

Iker Guarrotxena’s 12-minute hattrick is up there with the very best. It also happens to rank third in the list for the fastest hat trick scored in the history of the ISL. Moreover, it has taken him to the summit of the goalscoring charts with 10 goals in 16 games. Fans, players and the manager himself are extremely pleased with the rich vein of the form shown by the marquee signing in his debut season. Voicing his contentment, Carlos Pena observed:

“Yeah, it’s very important for a forward, a striker to score goals. Iker (Guarrotxena) has helped the team a lot from the very start of the season. He did not score too many goals in the beginning, but he worked a lot for the team. As of now, he has improved his accuracy and is understanding better what we want from him. So yeah, very happy for him as he’s a hard worker and a great person.”

On the importance of this result for the four games coming up

Two successive wins have granted Goa a safe space in the battle for the knockout stages. However, two more games in hand for both Kerala and ATK Mohun Bagan mean they could still oust them; if they were to win at least one of those games that are. Carlos Pena was extremely humble about this unwavering form as he stated :

“Yeah, of course, the results are very important in football. Before we were not so bad and now we’re not so good. So we need to be humble as we’re happy and confident already. We need to keep going our way and think about the next game. To get into the playoffs as soon as possible we have to go for all three points against Odisha.”

On a negative feeling within the team and whether that has changed

FC Goa underwent a stop-start patch with two draws and two losses before their last victory against Kerala Blasters. The head coach repeatedly mentioned his team facing a dip in confidence and overall mood because of the same. He further explained:

 “Yes yes, I felt that. I felt that many teams in the league had a possibility to break into the top six. They paid close attention to their games against FC Goa because they considered us a rival contender. But I will be very honest as I stick to what I said about the team performing well despite losing against Hyderabad here (at Fatorda). I felt that the team was improving and I knew that we didn’t really have a bad game. Now that results are coming, I think we have improved quite a bit. We will be approaching the next few games with the wind in our sails but there are still four more games to go. After that, if we qualify, there will be playoffs to compete in. So staying humble, and continuing to work hard is the way to go for us at this point.”