Mumbai City need a minor miracle to qualify for the final of the Indian Super League after losing 1-5 to Goa at home in the first leg of the semi-finals. The Gaurs have one foot in the final, and the Islanders know that a massive task awaits them at Fatorda.
“In football and in life, we can never say never but the reality is that it is very difficult to change this result. To be honest, yes, we have a small chance to change this result. If you want me to say that I’m (Mumbai City FC) here to score six-to-seven goals to change the result, I will try to do this. I have seen things in football that no one would believe, but normally it is very difficult to change the result from the first leg,” said Jorge Costa, the head coach of Mumbai City.
Mumbai were in the game till the first half an hour when they took the lead. Even at 1-2 down in the first half, they seemed to have a chance until Goa turned on the accelerator in the second half.
When Mumbai visited Fatorda during the league stage, they were hammered 5-0. After the first leg, Goa have now scored 12 goals against the Islanders in three matches this season. But despite all that has happened in the past, Goa coach Sergio Lobera is not taking this game lightly.
“I approach this game out of respect because we are facing a great team. I don’t see ourselves in the final yet. If we think we are (in the final), it’s a mistake by us. So, we must be at our 100%,” said Lobera.
While Mourtada Fall restricted Modou Sougou’s runs in behind, Paulo Machado struggled to dominate the midfield against Ahmed Jahouh who was at his best. Arnold Issoko, on the other hand, was a bright spark down the right wing but Mumbai’s poor finishing meant whatever chances he created went begging.
With 16 goals and 7 assists, Corominas remains Goa’s most dangerous player. On the other side is Sougou who has 12 goals to his name but Costa will demand the best from his key striker after he struggled to make an impact in the first leg.
Mumbai will not only have to prevent Goa from scoring but also keep converting chances at the other end. The Islanders have conceded 25 goals in all from 19 matches, with 48% of those strikers scored against them by the Gaurs in three games.
Surprisingly, NorthEast United coach Eelco Schattorie also had a say on Goa’s defence after Carlos Pena joined the team. “In football, a team is a puzzle. Goa won 5-1 against Mumbai. I think it took them one and a half seasons to figure out that they needed an extra centre back. The moment that foreign centre back started playing, they had very good results,” said Schattorie.
The Goan defence has six clean sheets in eight games since the Indian Super League resumed in January. The Mumbai City backline on the other hand have conceded 13 goals in their last six outings and will find it difficult to stop a Goa team which has scored 41 goals in their 19 matches this season.