FC Goa would look to break their winless streak at home when they take on NorthEast United in an Indian Super League football match at Nehru Stadium here on Friday. FC Goa, who are lying at the bottom of the table, were looking to come strongly in the second leg after they beat Pune City FC but their defeat against Kerala Blasters in the last match have placed them in a critical position as they now need to win all their five remaining matches if they are to qualify for the semifinals.
They have just seven points from nine matches.
But the team is seeking inspiration from their first season when they qualified for the semifinals despite all odds.
“Football provides with the inspiration. In football we see everything. In the first season, we were at the bottom of the table but we won six games and qualified with one round to spare. I am not saying that surely we will do it again but we will do everything to make it happen. It still depends entirely on us,” said FC Goa assistant coach Vannucci Fernando during the pre-match media interaction.
FC Goa lost their last match 1-2 against Kerala Blasters after taking the lead and two of their players — captain Gregory Arnolin and Richarlyson Felisbino — were sent off.
They will both miss tomorrow’s game and the team also has injury concerns to take care of.
Vanucci, however, remained calm and said whoever takes the field will strive to give his best for the team.
“It doesn’t matter who plays. Whoever is there, we will try to win and get the three points that we need,” said Vannucci.
Just like FC Goa, NorthEast United also need the three points to work their way among the top four and fight for a place in semi-finals.
In the last game, NorthEast United suffered their third consecutive defeat at home against Mumbai City FC and coach Nelo Vingada made it clear they need three points to take away from Goa.
NorthEast United are placed fifth with 10 points from eight matches. They collected six points from their first two matches but since then have not lived up to expectations.
“Even in the loss we played well but in our last match the team did not play to my expectation despite we holding possession and one mistake by our keeper cost us three points and I hope they do not make crucial mistakes that will cost us full points,” said NorthEast United coach Vingada said.
“According to the situation that we are in, this is a crucial match for us. We started the league well but this is football. After a few games, even when we lost, we were performing well but in the last game we were not at the level that I expected,” Vingada added.
“We are working hard to give another image of our team, so it’s important to win. Goa will be missing some players. As a coach, I want the best for NorthEast United. I want my team to beat the best with good football but I want all players to play for Goa, so also for my team. Some of my players cannot play due to injury and suspension,” added the North East United coach.