Goa: FC Goa are by far the best goal-scoring team in the history of the Indian Super League (ISL) with 42 goals in just 18 matches so far. The former champions are ruthless upfront and have a knack for scoring goals for fun.
However, numbers suggest that 30 of team's 42 goals have come from the experienced Spanish duo of Ferran Corominas (18) and Manuel Lanzarote (12). Ahead of Goa's crucial first leg semi-final tie against Chennaiyin FC, Goa coach Sergio Loberas expects his attacking strike pair to continue finding the net, but at the same time, he also expects his entire team to contribute to team's traditional attacking brand of football.
"We (FC Goa) have been dependent on Corominas and Lanzarote to score the goals because they play in the positions where we need them to score. I don't expect the centre-backs or the players who are playing far away from the goal to score," said the former La Masia coach during the pre-match press conference at the Bambolim Athletic Stadium.
"The team has to play well to ensure that these guys are scoring the goals. It's difficult to for these two to score that many goals if the team is not functioning well," he added.
Goa have leaked quite a few goals since the start of the season but they finally managed to keep a clean sheet twice in the last three matches. It is important for The Gaurs to aim for a clean sheet against Chennayin at home, given the introduction of ISL's 'away rule' in the playoffs.
"Obviously, it's a rule we need to take into account, but I don't think our style of play is going to change because of this rule. In our last three games, we have scored a good number of goals (12) and have not conceded in two matches and this is the way to continue," Lobera explained.
Meanwhile, on Saturday, under-fire goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani is likely to start between the sticks for Goa after their first choice custodian Naveen Kumar was sent off during the team's 3-0 win over Jamshedpur FC last Sunday. Lobera, who had earlier mentioned that Kattimani is the best goalkeeper in the country, defended his ward despite his woeful form in the first half of the season. "Getting a clean sheet is not only the work of the goalkeeper. The team has been defensively good in the last three games and this has allowed us to have two clean sheets," Lobera reasoned.
The Spaniard further went on to praise his defenders, who are always under the shadow of the attackers. "If we don't function as a team it is impossible to achieve success but the way football works is that the scorers make the headlines. For me, there are people within the team who work hard and it is their work that permits others to shine a little bit more," said the 41-year-old coach.
Against a defensively-strong side, the coach has asked the players to play as a unit, like they did during the league stage of the tournament. "We have to work as a team to defend well. I'm not worried because even in the past few games we had important players missing but that didn't affect the game. If only 11 players would have been good, I don't think we would have been in the semi-finals."
The first leg of the semi-final 2 between Goa and Chennaiyin will be played at the Jawahralal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Saturday.
Published Date: Mar 09, 2018 21:29 PM | Updated Date: Mar 09, 2018 22:45 PM