Tag: FC Goa

ISL 5: Sergio Lobera refuses to use suspensions as excuse for not getting a win against NorthEast United

Guwahati, October 2, 2018: FC Goa Head Coach Sergio Lobera has always been a strong advocate of playing the game the ‘FC Goa’ way. It’s what he believes that the team derives its strength from. It’s also his belief that the men on the pitch on Sunday at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati were good enough to get the job done.

The Gaurs were missing two vital cogs in the form of Edu Bedia and Brandon Fernandes with both of them serving suspensions carried over from last season. The gaffer, however, didn’t want to use their absence as an excuse for not getting all three points in FC Goa’s season opener.

Speaking at the post-match press conference following a 2-2 draw against NorthEast United in the first game of the season, Lobera said, “When all the players are available, it is of course more easier. It’s always great to have options like Edu (Bedia) and Brandon (Fernandes) but their absence cannot be used as an excuse for not doing well.

“As a coach I have to find a solution for every situation.”

Lobera entrusted young teenager Mohammad Nawaz for the duty in between the stick in the season opener. A former Indian youth international, the boy from Manipur had an excellent season with the development side last year. His hard and perseverance finally paid off as he made his debut in the senior team.

Speaking on what made him trust the youngster and the current goalkeeping situation, the head coach, said, “As a coach I pick a keeper based on who is the fittest at the time. We haven’t made up our mind as who will be in between the sticks in our next game against Chennaiyin. We have three very good keepers to choose from and thus, I feel blessed.

“Age is not something we look at. Age is not a factor that I take into account while selecting players. It is always about who most suited to the occasion and today it was Nawaz.”

Whilst three points were not earned, the coach expressed happiness and coming away with a point against a team that provided “a stern test”. With lessons learnt from the encounter, FC Goa now flies off down south again to face Chennaiyin FC on October 6.

FC Goa unveil new look for 2018-19 season

Panaji: FC Goa on Saturday launched their official new home kit for the ISL 2018-19 season at an event held at Bambolim Athletic Stadium. This year the Gaurs will don an orange coloured kit having worn blue in the first four editions of the tournament.

The jersey features a contrast of bright orange and white with orange stripes down the middle, and FC Goa’s trademark blue sleeve and collar trims. The orange symbolizes the Gaurs’ fire and focus to win the ISL trophy. It also symbolizes their indomitable team spirit and an attitude of always rising to the occasion. The jersey pays homage to the Gaurs’ annual campaign #NowWeRise.

The jersey launch saw players Mandaar, Coro, Jahouh and Sana take the stage to unveil the new jersey amongst much cheering from FC Goa’s unrivalled fan base. The players spoke about their excitement around the new jersey and how they are looking forward to a fantastic season.

Speaking about the new look said Sana, “The new jersey looks great. It has a powerful and aggressive look to it and I’m looking forward to donning it in the coming season”. Mandaar echoed his thoughts. “The jersey looks completely different from the earlier ones. Love the new look”.

The jersey reveal was followed by FC Goa’s first pre-season friendly against East Bengal. A solo effort by striker Ferran Corominas in the 75th minute was enough to see the Gaurs beat the team from Kolkata.

FC Goa set their sights on Iranian world cupper

GOA: FC Goa have reportedly set their sights on much travelled Iranian midfielder Masoud Shojaei as a possible replacement for Spanish winger Manuel Lanzarote, who has joined ATK last month.

Shojaei, who is only Iranian to play three World Cup finals, has captained his national team against Morocco in group stage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Shojaei’s contract with Greek Super League champions AEK Athens has recently expired and he is expected to join a new club within a few days.

Although the 34-year-old, who played for famous Spanish club Osasuna from 2008 to 2012, has been also linked with Greek Super League side Apollon Smyrnis and Iranian Premier League club Nassaji Mazandaran, but his previous association with FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera may work in the favour of the Gaurs. Shojaei has played under Lobera at Spanish club Las Palmas in 2014.

FC Goa sign top Indian winger

PANJIM: FC Goa have announced the signing of Manipur winger, Jackichand Singh from Kerala Blasters FC.

The winger has represented Maharashtra duo FC Pune City and Mumbai City FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) in the past and has made his move to Goa for the forthcoming season of the football mega event.

Jackichand was picked up by FC Pune City in the first ever football player auction in the second season of the league and went on to score one goal for the club before moving to Mumbai City FC the following season. At Mumbai, Jackichand was an integral part of the attacking contingent and contributed to the success of the team on the pitch.

The Manipuri then moved to Kerala Blasters FC for the recently concluded edition of the ISL and had his best personal season in the history of the competition. The winger went on to score two goals, including one against the Gaurs and assisted three more for the club. Jackichand has also pulled on the blue of the national team on 16 occasions, contributing to two goals in the process.

Said Jackichand on his move to FC Goa, “Signing for FC Goa is a very proud moment for me and it was something I really wanted. The attractive brand of football the team plays under Sergio Lobera is one of the main reasons why I wanted to join this team and I’m very happy that I’m here now,”. He added, “I can’t wait to get out on to the pitch and showcase what I have to offer to the amazing fans of the club. It’s a well-known fact that the fans always back the team and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of them at the Fatorda stadium.”

FC Goa Head Coach Sergio Lobera was excited at the prospect of the wily winger joining the ranks and said, “I think it is a really good signing. His profile adapts very well to our philosophy and is a player with a tremendous turn of pace and ability to destabilize defenders. He is good at one on one situations as well and provides assist to the team while also being able to score goals. I’m happy with the effort the club has put in to sign the player because I am certain that he is a player who will help us achieve our goals,” he mentioned.

ATK announce two new foreign signings

Kolkata, June 6, 2018: Two-time ISL champions, ATK have signed English defender John James Johnson in an effort to strengthen their defense. ATK has also signed attacking Spanish midfielder Manuel Lanzarote Bruno this season.

Nigerian forward Kalu Uche has also joined the squad. Apart from retaining some of the local talents from last season like Debjit Majumder, Prabir Das, Eugeneson Lyngdoh, Hitesh Sharma, Jayesh Rane and Komal Thatal, ATK has also signed several new Indian players. Defender Arnab Mondal, national team midfielder Pronay Halder and forward Balwant Singh, Cavin Lobo, Shaikh Faiaz, among others will be seen in the red and white jersey in the fifth season of Indian Super League.

“We are very excited with the team that we have formed. It is a good combination of Indian and foreign players, youth and experience. We have tried to form an all-round and compact squad. I am happy to welcome several new members to the ATK family and hope that together we can put up some great football this season” said Sanjiv Goenka, Principal Owner, ATK

One of the latest recruit, John Johnson began his career at the Middlesbrough Academy where he went on to make his first-team debut in 2008 against Chelsea. Later on, he played at Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town before he joined Bengaluru FC in 2013. Previously voted the ‘Best Defender of the I-League’ by the All India Football Federation, Johnson will now be donning ATK colours in the upcoming season of ISL.

“Really excited to join ATK. Such a massive club in India, certainly looking forward to creating memorable times and winning some trophies. Thank you ATK for having me in the family.” Johnson said.

Manuel Lanzarote Bruno was in fiery form in the last season of ISL, where he scored 13 goals and provided six assists for FC Goa. Lanzarote played with the C and B teams of FC Barcelona. In 2005, he joined neighbouring UE Lleida in Segunda División, but later moved to Atlético Madrid B. Apart from this, he has also played for clubs such as Real Oviedo and UE Sant Andreu from Tercera División.

Lanzarote scored 14 goals in the 2012–13 campaign with the Arlequinats, and in 2013 he signed a deal with La Liga side RCD Espanyol.

After playing abroad with Asteras Tripoli F.C. in Greece, Lanzarote signed for the Indian Super League franchise FC Goa in 2017.

“I have enjoyed playing in India and cannot wait to begin afresh with the double champions, ATK. I hope to be able to continue with my form from the past season and help ATK win anotherchampionship.” Lanzarote said.

ISL 4: FC Goa, Mumbai City look to cut the gap

Goa: FC Goa saw Bengaluru FC go top of the Indian Super League table on Republic Day, but can cut the gap with the top three with a win over Mumbai City FC at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa, on Sunday.

The Gaurs have two games in hand and need to make it count – if they win both games, they will have a prospective one-point lead on top. However, they will have a desperate Mumbai City to deal with first up.

Mumbai has seen a huge drop in form, having failed to win in their last three games, drawing one and losing two, letting in six goals in the process.

“I think we are one of the teams that found a way past FC Goa during the first round and beat them. From that game onward, they have continued to do what they do well and because of that they are in the position that they are. They are effective but in that game we managed to control them and we hope that we can do the same on Sunday,” said Mumbai head coach Alexandre Guimaraes, referring to a 2-1 win early in the season.

It was after that loss against Mumbai that Goa went on to stitch three wins in a row. As it stands, they’re on the cusp of another hat-trick of wins, having beaten Jamshedpur FC and Kerala Blasters in the run up to this fixture.

Guimaraes still believes that most teams are in with a chance to make the top four, but the difference this season is the lack of draws.

“All the teams still have a chance to be in the top four. The difference from last season is that this season there haven’t been too many draws and that is making the difference for the teams in the top four. We are still in the battle and have (seven) games to play. We know that from our performances early on we have won points from places where it is tough (to come away with points),” he said.

There is a sense of anticipation as well with FC Goa signing Mark Sifneos from Kerala Blasters: “I cannot guarantee a player minutes based on his performances in former teams. I decide this on the training performances. But he is available for tomorrow,” their head coach Sergio Lobera said.

The addition of a striker despite scoring at 2.4 goals per match is a sign of the attacking intent of Lobera, and takes some responsibility off the shoulders of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote in terms of scoring and setting up goals.

All eyes will also be on whether Lobera’s team can stop leaking goals – they’ve let in 17 goals, as many as ninth-placed NorthEast United FC.

ISL 4: FC Goa put Kerala Blasters to the sword

Kochi: FC Goa put an end to Kerala Blasters FC’s resurgence as they handed them their second successive defeat in the Indian Super League.

With David James replacing Rene Meulensteen, Kerala had secured seven points from his first three games in charge, as much as Meulensteen in his seven games. However, the loss against Jamshedpur FC in the last game was followed by another 1-2 defeat at the hands of FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Kochi, on Sunday.

Ferran Corominas scored his 10th goal of the season in the seventh minute while another Spaniard, Edu Bedia, secured the winner in the 77th minute after CK Vineeth had drawn his team level in the 29th minute.

The win gave FC Goa 19 points from 10 matches but they continue to be placed fourth on the ISL table. The Goans however have a match in hand and can move to the top of the table if they can defeat Mumbai City FC in their next match at home on the coming Sunday.

As expected FC Goa started with attacking intentions and made it clear in the fourth minute when Manuel Lanzarote’s shot from outside the box almost resulted in a stunning goal. The ball, however, struck the post and rebounded back.

Kerala, however, were not lucky three minutes later when Goa struck with a classic team goal. A through ball from Brandon Fernandes for Mandar Rao Desai saw the winger cut it back for Corominas, and the highest goal scorer did well to hold on to it, look up and then shoot past the goalkeeper and defender Sandesh Jhingan on the goalline.

Kerala were subdued and did not trouble the Goa defence. Siam Hanghal was the first to have a good look at the rival goal and his attempt from outside the danger zone struck the crossbar before sailing out. That encouraged Kerala Blasters and they had the equaliser soon.

It was CK Vineeth who provided the breakthrough in the 29th minute. A goal kick from Laxmikant Kattimani saw defender Wes Brown head it into the path of Hanghal who flicked it for Vineeth. The Kerala sharpshooter easily finished by hooking the ball into the top corner past an onrushing Kattimani.

In the second session, there were not too many chances for either team. Vineeth tried an ambitious overhead kick which sailed wide and another attempt from him went straight to the keeper.

For Goa, Manuel Lanzarote’s free kick was off target and so was Mandar’s shot from the left. However, with Goa enjoying so much of ball possession, opportunity would always be there. That chance came in the 77th minute when Brandon Fernandes whipped in a corner which Edu Bedia glanced home the header across the goalkeeper into the far post for the winner.

ISL 4: FC Goa edge Jamshedpur to bounce back to winning ways​

Margao (Goa): Manuel Lanzarote scored a fine brace to continue his form to end FC Goa’s three-match winless run as his side beat Jamshedpur FC 2-1 in a game of missed chances. The win keeps Goa in the race for the playoff spots in Hero Indian Super League, two points ahead of Mumbai City FC, who are 5th.

Andre Bikey fouled Brandon Fernandes to give away a penalty after the attacking midfielder had brilliantly combined with Lanzarote. The latter had to retake his shot and put it in the same spot as previously to give Goa the lead.

Jamshedpur came all guns blazing at the start of the second half and the pressure told when Jerry Mawihmingthanga found Trindade Goncalves unmarked in the box for an easy header. With 54 minutes on the clock, the game opened up for both teams. Ferran Corominas and Lanzarote both fired warning shots before producing an exceptional move to get back in the lead.

Brandon’s ball was perfectly weighted for Lanzarote and he beat Tiri with ease – did the same with the keeper – and wheeled away in celebration.

Substitutes Kervens Belfort and Farukh Choudhary almost made an immediate impact when they combined to create a close chance. Jamshedpur poured forward in numbers, and Belfort was at it again when he set up Izu Azuka who missed a golden chance from near the six yard box.

The Gaurs could have finished the game off when Edu Bedia and Manvir Singh broke forward. They managed to even round the goalkeeper with clever play but still missed the goal. It could have avoided a tricky finish for them, but they held on – Jamshedpur only troubling them with a last minute corner.

Coppell’s side started the game on the front foot, attacking with real purpose in the opening exchanges before Lanzarote reminded them of the quality FC Goa have up front. His freekick nearly found Mohamed Ali. For all their positive intent, Jamshedpur could only manage to threaten from distance early on. Trindade Goncalves and Izu Azuka both attempted from outside the area – one was blocked, and the other just wide.

Lanzarote was culpable of wasting a great chance when excellent play from Corominas and Brandon set him free. But Lanzarote chose to shoot and blazed it over instead of looking for a pass. Narayan Das then put it just over with a shot from distance. Just when it seemed like a half of few chances would end 0-0, Brandon was brought down in the box by Andre Bikey and Goa had the telling penalty.

ISL 4: Buoyant NorthEast United have ATK in their sights

Guwahati: NorthEast United FC may have won their first match under the guidance of their technical advisor Avram Grant, but they will need to be at their best to stop a desperate ATK in a ninth round Indian Super League clash at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium, Guwahati, on Friday.

ATK have won just twice in eight games and can cut the gap to the playoff spots to just two points with a victory.

Their assistant coach Bastob Roy likened the situation to that of Real Madrid in the La Liga – saying that this was how football was and that they would now have to create their own luck rather than rely on the rub of the green.

“Have you seen the situation of Real Madrid? This is football, it’s part of the game and we are trying to come out of this situation. We still think we can make the playoffs. The table is very unpredictable and with two wins in a row, we may be able to achieve it. Luck is not with us. Chance factor has been against us. We are not looking behind but looking forward. The only thing we can do is hard work. Luck is not in our hands. In football you have to score and not concede. That’s what we work on,” he said, not disclosing the team’s plans for NorthEast United, who were impressive in their 2-1 win against FC Goa.

Meanwhile, former Chelsea manager Grant will look for the attitude which was seen against FC Goa, when his side notched their first win after four defeats on the trot. They can leapfrog ATK with a win and that will be the most motivating factor for them.

“I think we need to improve a lot. I like to implement attacking football but for us to reach the desired level is difficult. So the immediate focus is to remain organised and be together. Hopefully that gets us some results,” said NorthEast assistant coach Eelco Schattorie.

“Two areas which need work on is to bring the team together. Last week everyone worked hard and had the intention to help each other so that organisation is very important. Secondly, we need to improve in the area of scoring goals but that is the most difficult as well. We can’t train today to score and score tomorrow. That is not how it works. That only works when you have (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo,” he added.

NorthEast United may not have those two players at their disposal, but they showed what a determined performance can achieve against one of the best teams in the league. More of the same will certainly cause ATK problems.

ISL 4: Goa look to break into Jamshedpur’s defence

Margao (Goa): It’s a battle of the opposites as the team which has scored the most number of goals hosts the team which has conceded the least as Indian Super League nears the halfway stage.

It’s FC Goa vs Jamshedpur FC, with the former striking at a rate of 2.5 goals per match, scoring 20 in 8 games so far. But Jamshedpur have let in just four goals in as many matches, and as the visiting head coach Steve Coppell put it, it looks like offence vs defence on paper.

“Sounds like a good contest – test of our defence against what has been the most fluid attacking unit until now. They score goals freely as they’ve shown against a number of sides and it is a challenge to do our best to stop them and hurt them. We’ve certainly not come (here) to only keep them out – but also try to expose any weaknesses they might have at the back,” said the former Manchester United player.

It may seem that Jamshedpur are willing to sit back, but Coppell also made it clear that the earnest desire was to play a more attractive brand of football.

“It’s not our intention to try and get a 0-0 or squeak a game 1-0. We want to play more expansive football,” he said, adding that he hopes his defence tightens up after they let in two goals in their previous game [vs Mumbai City FC].

“Anas has been out for a while and the pitch at home is fairly demanding on its own so it was a big question whether he should play right away. It was apparently the miscommunication in the back four and we hope that is tidied up.”

High-flying Goa have surprisingly not won in their last three games and it is believed it has been down to player rotation. However, head coach Sergio Lobera said it was not a case of safeguarding their interests, but that of putting players above results that forced his hand – given that they played two matches in the space of four matches. He also confirmed that new signing Lalmuankima, who joined on a free contract from I-League champions Aizawl FC, is still not available for selection.

Lobera was insistent that his side will continue playing the way they have, and that there was no worry that teams were starting to find them out.

“I’ve seen every game in the league so far and I don’t think teams are playing differently against us. The next few games will show whether we deserve to be in the playoffs. As for tomorrow, we will need to be at our best to beat a side which has kept five cleansheets and conceded just four goals,” the Spaniard said.