Margao: FC Goa coach Sergio Lobera said that he was backing Bengaluru FC to reach the final of the fifth edition of the Indian Super League rather than NorthEast United FC. Bengaluru had lost the first leg of their semi-final 2-1 and faced a tough battle in the second leg before eventually winning 4-2 on aggregate. The final between the two sides is what neutral football fans in India were hoping for given that they were the top two teams in the league this season.
Lobera, whose Goa side had all but secured their place in the final with a 5-1 first leg win over Mumbai City FC, said he was itching to face Bengaluru in the finals even though his side would have relished facing a NorthEast side ravaged through injuries to their first-team players. Goa had lost 2-1 to Bengaluru at home in the league stage before suffering a 3-0 away loss to 10-man Bengaluru.
“I am a very ambitious coach. We lost both matches when we played Bengaluru so I wanted to face them in the final,” Lobera said, adding, “I think that after 180 minutes, whoever is in the final is because they deserve it over the season.
“If you look at the previous two fixtures between us, then Bengaluru are favourites. But we are going to approach the final trying to win it.
“Obviously, we will learn from our mistakes in the semi-finals and hope to continue with what has worked. Having said that, the final will be a completely different match,” the Spaniard said after his side's 0-1 loss to Mumbai in the second leg of the semi-final.
Mumbai City coach Jorge Costa was pleased with his side’s performance in the second leg especially after recovering from their 5-1 humiliation at home in the first leg. Mumbai beat Goa for the first time this season, courtesy of Rafael Bastos’ early strike, to end their season on a winning note.
Costa, while praising his side’s win, admitted it was difficult for his team to recover mentally from their abject loss in the previous game and said, "It was not easy for us after the first game to recover mentally. I am very proud to be the head coach of this team.
“It was very important for us to finish the season with some dignity after the first leg. I am very proud of us for finishing in the top four. Next year we will be back to fight for something more than what we achieved this year,” the Portuguese tactician said before signing off.
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Updated Date: Mar 13, 2019 12:51:10 IST