Indian Super League: FC Goa look to end slump against Odisha FC

The match will be held at the SAG Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa - the same venue where the Gaurs lost narrowly to Jamshedpur FC last Friday.

FC Goa players in a training session; Credit: FC Goa

Currently placed at ninth place on the Indian Super League (ISL) 2021-22 points table, FC Goa have an opportunity to rise up on Tuesday, when they take on Odisha FC. The match will be held at the SAG Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa – the same venue where the Gaurs lost narrowly to Jamshedpur FC last Friday. With just six more league games remaining, the club is slowly running out of chances to make it to the top-four and would want to make the opportunity count when they meet OFC.

During the pre-match press conference on Monday, FC Goa head coach Derrick Pereira clarified that the team will stick to its possession-based style of football. “I wouldn’t say that we would change our style. We have to, and will stick to our philosophy,” he explained.

“However, at times there will be a Plan B to explore the strengths and weaknesses of our opponents. More importantly, we also need time on the training pitch to work on such plans – which we rarely got during January. Hopefully, things become better in the next month, and hopefully the results also get better as a result.”

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Derrick Pereira provides squad update

While Brandon Fernandes’ return is a big boost, the Gaurs may miss the services of Jorge Ortiz and Glan Martins who are still recovering from injuries. “Glan had an individual training session yesterday, and today he will train with the team. Ortiz is also in the same situation. We will be monitoring them closely,” the head coach revealed.

With just six more league games in hand, a place in the top four, that would also ensure a berth in the playoffs, is getting farther from FC Goa’s grasp. As of now, the Gaurs have 14 points from 14 matches. A win against OFC will take FC Goa’s tally to 17 points, which is only three points behind fourth-placed Bengaluru FC. Any other result would cause no changes to their current position and are hence not desirable.

Meanwhile, Odisha FC are currently at eighth place with 17 points but with a goal-difference of -6. The team from Bhubaneswar are winless in their last two matches, indicating that they surely have weaknesses that the Gaurs can exploit.

The team’s mentality

The 59-year-old’s job at the club has not been easy of late, with the team struggling due to various reasons. The biggest of them, undoubtedly, is the outbreak of COVID-19. “The month of January has been difficult for us. Players couldn’t go out because of the COVID-19 situation and as a result, training was also affected. After several days, we were allowed to get out of our rooms yesterday, to at least have our meals in the common dining area,” he narrated his recent experiences.

“Hopefully, this will help our players mentally, and help them focus on the footballing aspects of our remaining matches. In our past few games, our intent has been to go for the win and get those three points. It will stay the same tomorrow, with six matches remaining for us in the league stage,” Derrick Pereira signed off.

Sportslumo Desk

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