Panjim (Goa) [India], Feb 21 (ANI): FC Goa will look to end their four-match winless streak and get back to winning ways when they take on Delhi Dynamos FC in their crucial Indian Super League (ISL) encounter here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.
FC Goa come into the contest against Delhi Dynamos FC on the back of four games without a win. The Gaurs have also failed to score in the last couple of matches and this has seen them fall behind the pack in the race for a top-four place.
Having romped to a 5-1 victory over the Dynamos in the capital city, FC Goa climbed to the summit of the ISL in December. However, a poor run of form has seen them drop into sixth position on the table with 20 points in 14 matches. FC Goa are desperate to turn their form around and make a late push for a spot in the playoffs in their last four games of the season.
Naveen Kumar has been an able replacement for skipper Laxmikant Kattimani and has put in superb performances for the side since coming in. He will start again for FC Goa behind central defenders Bruno Pinheiro and Ali Mohammad. Narayan Das and Seriton Fernandes will occupy the full-back positions. The entire defence will be hoping to blunt the Delhi attack and keep their first clean sheet of the tournament. Ahmed Jahouh and Edu Bedia are likely to continue in the centre of midfield. They have both been the engine for the side as they keep the ball moving, while also contributing to both, the attack and the defence.
Ahmed Jahouh currently leads the way with the most number of passes and tackles in the league. With the suspension of Manuel Lanzarote who picked up his fourth yellow card, new signing Hugo Adnan Boumous will get a game. The Moroccan man looked lively in the second period against Chennaiyin FC in the previous match and will be hoping to make a mark in the tournament.
Mandar Rao Dessai and Brandon Fernandes look set to occupy the wings for the Gaurs while Ferran 'Coro' Corominas will continue up top. The Spaniard still leads the standings with 13 goals, but has failed to net in the last two games. He will be looking to increase his tally and pull away from second placed Miku, Mark Sifneos could make an appearance from the bench.
Head coach Sergio Lobera continued to be positive ahead of the must-win match for the side and said, "Tomorrow's match is the first of 4 finals and we have to get all three points. This has to be our motivation. Knowing that if we get the 3 points tomorrow, our future is still in our control and once again I repeat, more than pressure, we need to look at this with excitement because i think we can achieve something big this year."
The loss of Manuel Lanzarote will be a blow for FC Goa but Sergio reiterated that the team has quality players capable of replacing him.
"Unfortunately when a team loses a player due to suspension, there isn't much one can do. We have a squad of players capable of coming in and replacing someone in this situation. With regard to set-pieces, he is our designated set-piece specialist and the only reason you haven't seen anyone else is because he's started every game. Tomorrow I believe there will be an opportunity for everyone to see that we have several other players who are very capable of taking over set-piece duties," he explained.(ANI)