The Gaurs are confident about a positive result in the reverse fixture against the Islanders this season.
The Gaurs have two games in hand and need to make it count – if they win both games, they will have a prospective one-point lead on top. However, they will have a desperate Mumbai City to deal with first up.
Mumbai has seen a huge drop in form, having failed to win in their last three games, drawing one and losing two, letting in six goals in the process.
“I think we are one of the teams that found a way past FC Goa during the first round and beat them. From that game onward, they have continued to do what they do well and because of that, they are in the position that they are. They are effective but in that game, we managed to control them and we hope that we can do the same on Sunday,” said Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes, referring to a 2-1 win early in the season.
It was after that loss against Mumbai that Goa went on to stitch three wins in a row. As it stands, they’re on the cusp of another hat-trick of wins, having beaten Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters in the run-up to this fixture.
Guimaraes still believes that most teams are in with a chance to make the top four, but the difference this season is the lack of draws.
“All the teams still have a chance to be in the top four. The difference from last season is that this season there haven’t been too many draws and that is making the difference for the teams in the top four. We are still in the battle and have (seven) games to play. We know that from our performances early on we have won points from places where it is tough (to come away with points),” he said.
There is a sense of anticipation as well with FC Goa signing Mark Sifneos from Kerala Blasters: “I cannot guarantee a player minute based on his performances in former teams. I decide this on the training performances. But he is available for tomorrow,” their head coach Sergio Lobera said.
The addition of a striker despite scoring at 2.4 goals per match is a sign of the attacking intent of Lobera and takes some responsibility off the shoulders of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote in terms of scoring and setting up goals.
All eyes will also be on whether Lobera’s team can stop leaking goals – they’ve let in 17 goals, as many as ninth-placed NorthEast United FC.
HEAD TO HEAD
FC Goa 2 – 2 Mumbai City FC (3 draws)
Edu Bedia (FC Goa)
The Spaniard has anchored Goa’s midfield to good effect. He has neutralized the attacks of the opposition, as well as, surged forward with the ball effectively. Bedia also has a good eye for picking out decisive passes and has a goal and an assist to his name this season. Against Mumbai, he will look to be his usual impactful self.
Balwant Singh (Mumbai City FC)
Balwant has been the Islanders’ go-to-man upfront. He has been clinical in front of goal and has shown good poaching skills. He uses his strength and intelligence to get behind the defence and shows composure with the ball at his feet. The 31-year-old has five goals and an assist to his name and will look to be on the scoresheet in their crucial visit to Goa.
Sergio Lobera will probably stick to his 4-2-3-1 formation which ensures their formidable attack receives good service from the midfield.
Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani
Forward: Ferran Corominas
Goa’s gaffer on his team’s preparation for the fixture: “What we have to focus is on ourselves. We can’t think about the other team. I don’t think we deserved to lose in the reverse fixture. We need to ensure that we do as much as possible.”
Mumbai City FC
Alexandre Guimaraes may opt for a 4-2-3-1 formation that would add versatility both in attack and defence.
Goalkeeper: Amrinder Singh
Forward: Balwant Singh
Mumbai’s head coach on his team’s approach to the game: “We have been trying to establish a pattern of playing. With that pattern, we have been playing a good game which sometimes doesn’t match with the points we have. If you play well, you have more chances to win. This is the posture with which we will come tomorrow.”
- Goa handed out the heaviest ever defeat in the history of Hero ISL to Mumbai, when the Gaurs won 7 – 0 against the Islanders in the second season at Goa
- All three draws between the two sides have been goalless
Mumbai City FC 2 – 1 FC Goa (25th November 2017 at the Mumbai Football Arena)
FC Goa: W W L D L
Mumbai City FC: L L D W W