Panjim (Goa) [India], Feb 3 (ANI): After a shocking defeat against Mumbai City FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda in their last outing, FC Goa will look to resume their upward march in the Indian Super League (ISL) standings when they take on NorthEast United FC in a bid to make it to the playoffs.
The Goan side went down to the NorthEast in the reverse fixture at the Indira Gandhi stadium in Guwahati and will look to get the three points over them this time around.
Attacking midfielder Marcinho was on hand to score the opener in Guwahati with Manuel Arana finding the equaliser a few minutes later. However, Seiminlen Doungel finished off a superb counter-attacking move to seal the points for the men in white.
Laxmikant Kattimani will start in goal for Sergio Lobera's side. Bruno Pinheiro has been sidelined by a knee injury that has kept him out of the last couple of games and Sergio Juste could get another start alongside Ali Mohamad. Narayan Das will start at left back.
Seriton Fernandes' sending off in the previous encounter will mean that Lobera will have to tinker with his defence and it will be interesting to see if Amey Ranawade gets a nod ahead of Chinglensana Singh. Additionally, Juste could play at right back while Chinglensana could move into the heart of the defence.
Edu Bedia and Ahmed Jahouh have been the midfield lynch pins for FC Goa and they look set to reprise their roles against the Highlanders. New signing Hugo Boumous could make an appearance from the bench.
Ahead of them, Manuel Lanzarote will take up his attacking midfield role and will be flanked by Mandar Rao Dessai and Brandon Fernandes. ISL top scorer Ferran Corominas will continue up front and will be looking to add to his rally of 12 goals.
Having played a few matches less than the teams around them in the table, the Gaurs are playing catch up as they find themselves in sixth position on the table, going into this encounter. However, head coach Sergio Lobera was upbeat about his team chances of qualification to the playoff, saying, "Pressure doesn't exist, only excitement does. There is an excitement to improve from a difficult season last year. The pressure is on everyone else because as of right now, it is all on us to make the top four. We don't depend on anyone else to help us get there."
"In this league and especially this sport, anything can happen. Right now, the past doesn't matter at all. When we're kicking off at Fatorda, nothing else should be on our minds but to focus on the game and get the best result," he mentioned, when asked about his teams' chances against the Highlanders.(ANI)