The hosts’ defence once again lets them down while the visitors kept their playoffs hopes alive.

FC Goa failed to pick up their third consecutive win as they went down fighting 4-3 against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Sunday in the Indian Super League (ISL).

A brace from Ferran Corominas and a goal from Manuel Lanzarote were not enough to gift the Gaurs maximum points, as they lay defeated in front of the Islanders’ resolute fightback. Seriton Fernandes’ double yellow cards which led to a red, early in the second half, also helped in tilting the result in the visitor’s favour.

The host’s head coach Sergio Lobera attended the post-match press conference to field questions from the media. He began by sharing how the red card affected their game and which elements from the encounter he was discontent with. “I think that (the red card) was a big influence on the game. I think if all the players were in the game, things would have changed,” he stated.

“Just as the second half began, we had an opportunity where Mandar was in a one-on-one situation. Two minutes later, we went down to 10 men. It does hurt us a lot, but I think we showed great composure in coming back with the equaliser and making it 3-3. We reached a point when it was 3-3 with 12 minutes remaining on the clock and we were down to 10 men.”


Watch: FC Goa 3-4 Mumbai City highlights

“But, even with 10 players, we wanted to win the game. However, we shouldn’t have left spaces behind, which we did. The only thing I am unhappy about is the goal which we couldn’t manage to score in the first half against a team who only came here to defend. We shouldn’t have let them score those goals easily. Also, I am unhappy with the fourth goal, which I think we conceded due to a lack of composure within ourselves.

Goa’s attack, when compared to their defence, is a completely contrasting story. They may have the highest number of goals scored this season to their name (27), but has failed to keep a single clean sheet and speaking on this, the Spaniard said, “When you score three goals at home and end up losing 4-3, it is difficult. Apparently it was a straightforward game, but in reality, it was different from the others, a strange one.

The players, the penalty and then there were moments in the game which affected the final result. But obviously, there are aspects in which we need to improve. But when you score three goals at home, it gets a bit difficult to digest that you didn’t win the game.”

Before leaving, the 41-year-old also highlighted how his team is preparing for the road ahead. “Against Mumbai, we lost two games but you know, football is sometimes unjust. We lost two games which we didn’t deserve to. Also, our upcoming game is against a team (NorthEast United FC) we lost away from home to, and so we need to focus on the mistakes we made there and ensure that we do not repeat them. So we will come back at home and try for the three points,” he concluded.

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The visitor’s head coach painted a happy picture in the post-match press conference and shared what his team’s strategy was throughout the match. “We knew that we had to manage different rhythms during the 90 minutes. And I think, we did well. It doesn’t matter if they (Goa) won the first half.”

“I told my players that we are still in the game, knowing that they will go on to try to score more and continue to play open. So, the game plan was to get an advantage and I am very happy that the players stuck with the plan. We won a very important game because they are a good team and it’s not easy to win here in Goa,” he stated.

There was a moment in the match when Goa equalised to take the scoreline to 3-3 with 12 minutes remaining on the clock. When asked about his mindset during that period, he revealed, “Because of the way they play, I knew that they would not be satisfied with a draw. So knowing that, like I said before, we continued to stick to our game plan, expecting that some chances will happen.”

Balwant goal

The Costa Rican also reiterated that the win was highly crucial to their campaign prospects. “The win was very, very important. First of all, because we knew that we were going to play with a very good team, who had a number of combinations with which they would try to penetrate our defence. So this win puts us back in the fight and we now have the possibility to be in the top four.”

“Of course, this is a huge push in terms of confidence for our players, as we return home on Thursday for the next match. I want our fans to come and pack the stadium because the players need them to push them forward,” he explained.

He further continued, “It feels very good because we beat them (Goa) twice, both at home and away. It was very important to have a win here as that would be an advantage. We won against an opponent, who is the one closest to us in the table. Now they have to come back as it is not easy to lose a game like this.”

Before leaving, the 58-year-old was asked if he believes the red card shown to Seriton Fernandes early in the second half, gave them an added advantage. “In the second half, we got a situation which allowed us to control the game better. As soon as we realised the situation post the red card, we made some modifications. We continued to have the possibilities to find them not well-positioned. My players took advantage of the situation,” he concluded.