A win for the Men of Steel will help them leapfrog the Gaurs to a top four position on the league table.
On Thursday, Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur FC take on FC Goa in what promises to be the best tie of the 12th round of matches in the Indian Super League (ISL). As the second half of the season begins in earnest, this mouthwatering clash could prove to be an indicator of how the playoffs race will shape up towards the end of the season.
Goa currently sits fourth place with 15 points and the nearest threat they face comes from Jamshedpur, who have 13 points. A result for the Men of Steel would blow the race for the top four wide open while a Goan victory would allow Ferrando to breathe more calmly. With such extreme possibilities, this match has all the potential to be a belter.
Owen Coyle would be the more eager of the two managers to prove a point and win three points. After a brutal refereeing decision took the game away from the Men of Steel the last time the two sides faced each other, a statement win would help validate Jamshedpur’s claims for their first-ever playoffs in ISL history.
Juan Ferrando, on the other hand, knows that if his side cave into Jamshedpur’s pressure, the road ahead for securing a top four would be even more difficult. A switch of places at this stage means that the Gaurs will be heavily dependent on other results to go their way.
FC Goa will have a fully fit squad to choose from, but Ferrando’s tendency to rotate will be a factor in choosing the starting XI. His strongest team will likely start given the magnitude of the clash.
Owen Coyle too has a full squad to choose from with no major injuries or suspensions. Some players have had a few knocks over the past week, which is why the likes of Nick Fitzgerald and David Grande are unlikely to make it into the starting XI. William Lalnunfela and Narender Gahlot returned to the team last week after being sidelined with long-term injuries. They are likely to make it into the matchday squad once again.
Of the seven matches that have been played between the two sides, FC Goa have the edge with four wins to Jamshedpur’s two. The only draw between the two was a goalless affair in ISL 2018-19.
Jamshedpur lost the first game between the two sides this season, despite leading at half-time through Stephen Eze. An Igor Angulo penalty restored parity between the sides, before the Spaniard took away the win with a last-minute goal.
FC Goa: Nawaz (GK); Gama, Ivan, Donachie, Seriton; Bedia, Lenny; Jesuraj ,Brandon, Angulo.
Jamshedpur FC: Rehenesh (GK); Lourenco, Eze, Hartley, Nishu; Mobhashir, Monroy, Alex; Jadhav, Jackichand, Valskis.
Man to Watch
Saviour Gama (FC Goa)
Saviour Gama has been a revelation this season, making the left-back starting spot his own after missing the first game through suspension. He has the most interceptions in his side, with 18 in nine matches. His defensive ability does not compromise his attacking intent, as the youngster has registered two assists already, the latest coming in a 1-1 draw against East Bengal.
The wide areas will be a key focus when the two sides face each other and responsibility will fall on Gama’s shoulders to aid in attack as well as defence.
Jackichand Singh (Jamshedpur FC)
The attacking focus of Jamshedpur boils down to one basic statistic, crossing. The Jharkhand-based outfit have played the most number of crosses among all the teams in the ISL, with 167 crosses in 10 games. The leader in the team in that category is none other than former Goa star Jackichand Singh.
The Indian international has been a phenomenal presence in the wide areas for the Men of Steel and his three assists put him in fifth position in the league. His 37 crosses in 10 games is also a league high. Jamshedpur would be looking to utilize the former Blasters winger to the fullest when he dons the boots against his former team.
Did You Know?
- Jamshedpur FC conceded their first ever defeat against Kerala Blasters last week.
- Owen Coyle’s first loss as an ISL manager came at the hands of FC Goa. The 3-4 defeat was his third match in-charge of Chennaiyin FC.
- Jackichand Singh would be facing familiar faces on the other side, having spent two years playing for FC Goa under Sergio Lobera.
The match between FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3 and several other regional languages. Live streaming of the match will be available on Hotstar and Jio TV.