Margao: FC Goa shared the spoils with Chennaiyin FC in the first leg of the second semi-final, after substitute Anirudh Thapa cancelled out Manuel Lanzarote’s strike, to give the visitors an important away goal. The tie ended in a 1-1 draw, and reflecting on the performance on Saturday, Goa coach Sergio Lobera admitted that although his team dominated possession, they lacked numbers in attack.
"We had possession but it was very far away from the opponent's goal. We didn't have enough numbers when we were close to the goal. So what this result shows is that the team was a little bit divided and physically it cost us a little bit as well," Lobera explained.
After combining superbly for Goa’s opener, strike partners Ferran Corominas and Lanzarote just could not get past the Chennaiyin defence. Lobera acknowledged that it was a tough task to face a side as strong as Chennaiyin at home, but felt that it won’t be impossible to score at the Marina Arena in Chennai on 13 March. "I think the result is yet to be decided. From what we have here, for us to go through, we need to score there. It was a little difficult to get a result against a team that is as well-organised and defensively strong as they were today (Saturday). But having said that, for us, it's not such an obstacle to go there and try and score a goal," he commented.
Although Chennaiyin grabbed the crucial away goal, things won’t be easy for the Super Machans as Goa have a good record of scoring in away fixtures. "We are confident. We haven't lost anything. Obviously, it's not the result we would have liked. The result is completely open. We are a team who normally score a lot of goals and why can't we do it there? I think we have a lot of possibilities to be in the final and we have to do things very well in the next game," said the former Barcelona C manager.
Meanwhile, Chennaiyin coach John Gregory feels his side could have managed to take a 3-0 advantage on the night. "When I look at the opportunities that we had, we could have gone home with a 3-0 advantage," said Gregory with a tinge of discontent.
"We had clear one-on-one opportunities and to be fair to (Laxmikant) Kattimani, he made some very good saves and his team should thank him very much for the saves that he made. He certainly kept the tie alive right up till we managed to get a goal,” explained the former Premier League manager.
Despite the rare blip on the 61st minute, which led to Goa’s opening goal, Chennaiyin showed their defensive solidity after both Mailson Alves and Henrique Sereno kept Corominas and Lanzarote at bay for the major part of the game. However, coach Gregory believed that his defence showed too much respect to the Catalan duo.
"We showed a lot of respect to Lanza (Manuel Lanzarote) and Coro (Ferran Corominas). The goals that they have scored this season, many of them have been very spectacular goals and together they have a very good understanding – very similar to (Emiliano) Alfaro and Marcelinho at Pune (FC Pune City)," Gregory noted.
Interestingly, Alves and Sereno had previously denied Corominas and Lanzarote from scoring in Chennaiyin’s 1-0 win over Goa during the league stage.
"Having said that, both Mailson (Alves) and (Henrique) Sereno did a great job against them (Lanzarote and Corominas) when we came here in the regular season and did exactly the same tonight. Lanza managed to score after getting on the end of a block in the six-yard box and had an easy opportunity to put in the net, but defensively we are very aware of them and we do tend to pay a little bit more attention to them than the other strikers in the ISL," the English coach said.
He further admitted that his side would be in for a tough contest against Goa in the second leg on 13 March. "Goa are a very difficult team to play against and we know that we have our work cut out on Tuesday night," he concluded.
Updated Date: Mar 11, 2018 11:52 AM