FC Goa host Mumbai City FC in a crucial clash

Goa, February 10, 2023: FC Goa are on a four-game unbeaten run and will look to derive inspiration from their recent performances against Kerala Blasters FC and East Bengal FC at Fatorda as they gear up for another home game, this time against Mumbai City FC on Saturday.

The Gaurs have the second-best home record this season in the ISL, having won six out of eight matches in their own backyard, and will look to build on this when they host the Islanders. The visitors, meanwhile, boast of an even more commendable record, as they have not tasted a single defeat thus far in their league campaign. Come Saturday, the Men in Orange will look to change that and take all three points that are up for grabs with Carlos Pena’s men desperate to lock up a playoff spot.

The Gaffer Speaks

At the pre-match press conference on Friday, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena spoke about the importance of treating the upcoming game as ‘a new challenge’.

“We did not get a positive result the last time we faced them. But it’s now in the past and we cannot change what happened there. Hence, it’s important to not think about it. Tomorrow’s is a new game, a fresh challenge. We need to keep a fresh mindset and think only about what we can do tomorrow,” he said.

The return of Edu Bedia after serving his suspension against Odisha FC is something that FC Goa fans look forward to. The tactician, however, chose to focus on the team as a unit, instead of singling players out.

“Sure, it (Edu’s return) is good news, so is the fact that all the others are available for selection as well. This game is an important one, as winning this will play a role in our potential qualification to the playoffs. Hence, I’m happy to have all my options.

“Hernan (Santana) debuted against Odisha and played a few minutes, he did his best with the limited training time he got with us prior to the match. We’ve worked with him since, and he’s also ready for the next assignment,” the 38-year-old further added.

While reaching the playoffs remains an important objective, Pena maintained that he prefers to take things ‘step-by-step’.

“I want to think about this game now, and about nothing else. We want to focus on ourselves and what we can do best on the pitch tomorrow. Yes, playoffs is one of our objectives, but we want to take matches one at a time as they come,” he added.

The Task Ahead

Currently in fifth place in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 standings with 27 points from 17 matches, a win against Mumbai City FC will help FC Goa leapfrog ATK Mohun Bagan to fourth place. Three points will thus be crucial for the Gaur as it cements their position in the top-six and in turn, the playoffs.

Both teams have several similarities, in terms of playing styles, formations and more. When the two teams faced each other earlier this season at Mumbai, the Gaurs were beaten 1-4 in what has been their heaviest defeat of the ongoing campaign.

After a good half where Goa matched toe-to-toe with the Islanders, a series of individual mistakes from them helped Buckingham and co take the three points. Come Saturday, Pena will be keen for his team to not lose focus, as that would help them dominate proceedings and set the tone for the remainder of the season.

Also Read: Kerala edge Goa in a thrilling Santosh Trophy opener

Also Read: “Our ability to dig deep in tough situations is why we are where we are,” says Mourtada Fall while talking about the squad’s mental toughness

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