In the much anticipated match here on Sunday, FC Goa will have a chance to take second place in the Indian Super League table when they face ATK Mohan Bagan, the current resident of that slot.
This is going to be the league’s best offensive clash against the best defense – with Goa scoring the most goals in the open play (13), while the ATKMB has allowed a joint-low (4).
After a poor start to Season TU, Juan Ferrando’s men have been recovering ever since.
He remains unbeaten in his last four games – he has won three of those – and has pushed him to third place and Sunday’s win will elevate him to a two-horse title race between Mumbai City FC and ATKMB. .
“Tomorrow’s a good game because it’s a chance to get three points and improve as a team,” Ferrando said.
“The problem here is the league is very small. Yesterday, I was talking to the team manager. Kerala Blasters would be three points behind the playoffs if they won the game.
“Every game is important and getting three points from them is very important for the club. As everyone knows, our goal is to play in the playoffs.”
Ferrando faces a couple of tough questions. What’s more important is to add top scorer Igor Angulo, who had not started the previous match against Hyderabad FC – instead of allowing George Ortiz Mendoza to score in the line-up.
He is also worried about how many goals his team will give up on set-pieces. So far, the number stands at 8, more than 70 per cent of the targets they have allowed and the second highest in the league.
For ATKMB coach Antonio Lopez Habas, a win in the next game is essential to hold Mumbai City FC to the top spot, which they lost to Sergio Lobera in the last match.
“We have to fight,” Habas said.
“We have to win every game. We’re not thinking about the last game.
“I know there are good players in Goa. We have good players too. Now we are ready to fight it out in the next 90 minutes,” he said.