The Men of Steel need a win to make it into the top four but a draw will suffice for the Gaurs.
FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC clash in an all-important match which will decide the final playoff spot in the Hero Indian Super League. A draw will be enough for Goa since they’re already a point ahead of the hosts. If they lose, then Steve Coppell’s side will seal a remarkable achievement in their first season at the JRD Tata Sports Complex, Jamshedpur, on Sunday.
“In a strange sort of way, I am happy that we have to win to go through because that way there is no doubt in our mind. If we would have been able to qualify with a draw, all of a sudden human nature means you try and protect what you have and I don’t think that really suits us. The results in midweek mean that we have only one goal in mind and we have only one way we can play. We simply have to win to qualify,” said Jamshedpur head coach Steve Coppell.
The Englishman left no doubts that his team will go for the victory. The previous fixture between the two sides ended 2-1 in favour of Goa at the Nehru Stadium in Goa.
“Do we need to get better in front of goal? Obviously, that has been the case all season. More potential and more fire-power in front of goal. It’s not the strikers’ fault, but the team’s responsibility to create chances and score goals and we have to correct that for tomorrow,” he said.
Goa meanwhile are back to their best. They’ve scored nine goals in the last two matches, trouncing impressive FC Pune City 4-0 away before beating defending champions ATK 5-1 at home. Goa had not defeated ATK since the league’s inception in 2014.
“I know a draw is enough for us but once we try and play for a draw, we end up losing the game. So we do our best to try and win the match,” Goa head coach Sergio Lobera said. If Goa win, they can finish second due to their record against Pune City.
Goa have a few niggles but Lobera wouldn’t elaborate on which players were doubtful for the crunch match.
“They’re a defensively well-structured team and comfortable with their style of play. They deserve to be in a situation where they can fight for the semifinals,” Lobera said about Jamshedpur.
Head to head
Jamshedpur FC 0 – 1 FC Goa (0 Draws)
Izu Azuka (Jamshedpur FC)
The Nigerian has been a key attacking player for his team. He has appeared in all but one of their matches and has always kept the opposition defence on their toes with his pace and strength. An opportunistic striker and a clinical finisher, Azuka has three goals as well as an assist to his name and will look to inspire his team to a home win.
Ahmed Jahouh (FC Goa)
The former Moroccan international has been one of the most influential players for the Gaurs, pulling the strings from midfield. Possessing good speed and a knack for picking out incisive passes, Jahouh has been the initiator of countless attacks. He has a couple of assists to his name and will have to be at his best away to Jamshedpur.
Steve Coppell may use a 4-2-3-1 formation that provides enough options in the middle and the flanks.
Goalkeeper: Subrata Paul
Defenders: Souvik Chakrabarti, Anas Edathodika, Tiri, Shouvik Ghosh
Midfielders: Mehtab Hossain, Memo, Wellington Priori, Jerry Mawihmingthanga, Trindade Goncalves
Forward: Izu Azuka
Sergio Lobera will most likely go with a 4-2-3-1 formation as well to maximise the width of the pitch as Goa look to seal a semis berth.
Goalkeeper: Naveen Kumar
Defenders: Narayan Das, Bruno Pinheiro, Sergio Juste, Mohamed Ali
Midfielders: Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Mandar Rao Dessai, Manuel Lanzarote
Forward: Ferran Corominas
- Goa have scored the highest number of goals this season (39), while Jamshedpur have conceded the least (15)
FC Goa 2 – 1 Jamshedpur FC (11th January 2018 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa)
Jamshedpur FC: L D W W W
FC Goa: W W D L L