The Gaurs lead the pack ahead of Bengaluru on goal-difference.
FC Goa became the second Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) team to book their place in the play-offs this season after a convincing 3-0 win over Kerala Blasters FC, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, on Monday. Two goals in the first-half from Ferran Corominas and Edu Bedia, and a third by Hugo Boumous in the second-half helped the hosts do the double over Kerala this season. The victory also took the Gaurs to the top of the standings.
Despite their stellar form, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera, during the post-match press conference, waved off suggestions that his team might be the favourites to win the title. “I think there are no favourites as such. If we see what happened with Bengaluru FC last season, everyone was considering them the favourites and then Chennaiyin FC went and won the title. What we have to do is to stay humble, keep working and keep our feet on the ground,” he said.
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Watch: Goa 3-0 Kerala, Goals and Highlights
Sharing his delight with his much-improved defence, which has now kept five clean sheets in a row, Lobera said, “I’m very happy because we have improved defensively and also as a whole. I think it was one of the goals at the beginning of the season. We have achieved it. We have continued creating chances up front while also improving defensively.”
Looking forward to the Bengaluru match, the Spaniard said, “We only have two days until the next game. We are going to get ready in the best way possible. It will be very entertaining, a very good game. It will also be a very exciting challenge because we will be playing for the first spot.”
Kerala head coach, Nelo Vingada, on the other hand, shared his take on the match’s proceedings. “We were not so bad to be honest. The result is not really the reality because we created two or three good moments before the first Goa goal. Our reaction in the beginning of the second-half was very positive. We tried to give our best. I’m proud of my team and my players,” he said.
The Portuguese then, reiterated his faith on his young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh, whose scuffed clearance eventually led to Goa’s second goal of the night. “I was saying after our last game, we have some young players in the team. When you have young players, you have to be prepared for mistakes. Dheeraj is only 18-years-old and he is learning to be better. We have to learn from mistakes. He has all my support and my confidence,” he stated.