The Gaurs have been full of goals while the Men of Steel are looking to turn draws into wins.
FC Goa and Jamshedpur FC will clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Monday in a pivotal encounter, which could have a significant bearing on the race for the top four. The Gaurs, currently fourth in the table, had a scintillating first-half of the campaign, scoring 27 goals in their 11 matches so far. Jamshedpur are currently in the fifth spot, just one point behind the Gaurs.
Sergio Lobera (FC Goa)
Speaking at the pre-match press conference a day prior to the match, Goa head coach Sergio Lobera revealed that he is hoping that the team can carry forward their momentum from the first half of the season. “In the break, we have tried to work and get ready for the next match in the best way possible. I hope it doesn’t take long (to get going after the winter break). We’ve been working hard in the break,” stated Lobera.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Jamshedpur dismantled the Gaurs 4-1 at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur. Reminiscing over the result, Lobera said, “By the result of that game, you can tell the potential of Jamshedpur. It’s a very good team. And if you’re not at your 100% it’s very difficult to beat them. Also taking into account that they are a great rival in the race for a playoff spot, we have to look for three points for our own benefit. It’s a match against a direct rival and so it will be a crucial three points.”
Lobera rebuffed any suggestions that the Jamshedpur tie may be a make-or-break match for his side, but stressed the importance of a positive result. “There is still a long way to go but it will be a huge step forward because that will mean that if we get three points, we will be four points ahead of Jamshedpur with one game in hand,” he opined.
The 42-year-old also spoke about new signing Zaid Krouch, who joined the Gaurs in the January transfer window. “About Zaid Krouch, he has adapted very quickly thanks to his teammates. He fits perfectly in the squad. I have coached Zaid back in Morocco and he fits in perfectly with the system,” he said.
Cesar Ferrando (Jamshedpur FC)
Jamshedpur boss Cesar Ferrando spoke about his team’s preparations going into the match, especially after the long winter hiatus. “After a break, it’s a tough match to play. But I think, the team is prepared to play. We have important matches now, Goa, ATK and Mumbai. We want to win. My team is ready to play,” he said.
Jamshedpur have roped in defender Augustin Fernandes in the January transfer window. Ferrando, however, confirmed that Fernandes isn’t fully fit yet and will not feature against the Gaurs. “He’s not fit to play. He has to recover from his injury. I think he’s a good player. He needs to train more every day and then he can play soon,” he said.
Midfielder Carlos Calvo will be unavailable for selection due to a three-match suspension. Asked about the implication it could have on his team, Ferrando stated, “He’s a good player in this team. I have 20 players. I have to choose the best for tomorrow.”
Ferrando concluded his pre-match duties by assessing the Gaurs’ qualities and recalling his side’s 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season. “I hope (we can repeat the 4-1 triumph). I want to win. But Goa are a good team. They would want to win to stay in the top four. The same with us. I think they have a good coach. They have good players. They play very well and score a lot of goals. If we want to win, we have to control the tempo of the match. We have to be careful with a lot of things. But, it’s an important game for us,” said the 59-year-old.
The Gaurs have strengthened their offensive arsenal in the January transfer window by roping in Moroccan attacking midfielder Zaid Krouch. Having played under Lobera before, the 28-year-old won’t need much time to settle into the team’s system.
The Men of Steel are expected to welcome back star players Sergio Cidoncha and Michael Soosairaj to the team after both missed quite a few matches just before the break due to injuries. The club have also signed experienced defender Augustin Fernandes for the remainder of the season, but he is unlikely to make an appearance on Monday since he is recovering from an injury.
Nawaz (GK), Seriton, Fall, Ali, Rao Dessai (C), Jahouh, Rodrigues, Brandon, Bedia, Boumous, Corominas.
Paul (GK), Gaikwad, Tiri (C), Jairu, Gurung, Arques, Memo, Soosairaj, Mawhmingthanga, Cidoncha, Cahill.
Did You Know?
- Under Sergio Lobera, FC Goa have scored a massive 41 goals in 15 home matches.
- Jamshedpur FC have 11 different goal scorers this season, the most for any side.
- Carlos Calvo, who had contributed to 33.3% of Jamshedpur’s goals this season, is suspended for the match.
The match will take place on Monday at 7:30 PM at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Margao, Goa. On television, the match will be live on Star Sports. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.