TFG Logo


ISL   /   FC Goa   /   NorthEast United   /  

ISL 2017-18: Defensive deficiencies come back to haunt FC Goa's counter attacking display

SO ANOTHER GAME out of the way for FC Goa which saw them notch up 2 of the best team orchestrated goals sandwiched by equally 2 disappointing ones conceded against a resurging North East United. As a local writer, I did like to break the narrative in claiming that the team has bucked the trend and ironed out it defensive wrinkles. But unfortunately another good offensive effort was negated by its defensive deficiencies. FC Goa could have and should have still won it at the end if not for a stonewall penalty that wasn’t given when Coro was clearly impeded.

FC Goa going in to the game had already made a big call slotting in youngster Cardozo in place of the suspended Seriton and had to deal with a unfortunate injury to Brandon who appeared to suffer a high impact on his ankle on a heavy tackle. Losing him early in the game meant that Lobera lost an important cog in a well drilled offensive formation forcing a tactical change when he went with a more traditional 4-4-2 introducing Manvir. It forced an indifferent passage of play understandably losing out on the inverted creative runs of Brandon making the FC Goa attack more predictable to an extent as they adapted.

I can start with the Good on the goals scored. First one just beautiful, all it just took was 3 passes from the defensive end of Goa’s box to the complete opposite end culminating in a quality Mandar finish. It showed the best traits of Goa’s style of play from the back. Juste intercepted a dangerous NE cross and calmly passed it out to Lanza instead of panicking into a long clearance. Lanza with a fantastic first turn skipped past his marker and with exquisite ball carrier skills turned defense into attack laying it for straight forward cross for the over lapping Cardozo. A Team always gives itself a chance to score when they put in crosses. Even when they are never accurate at times, a slight deflection or a distraction caused by a trailing target man like Manvir in this instance is enough to create enough time and space for a player like Mandar to score.

2nd Goal again it was a sequence out of a Magic Johnson led LA Lakers ShowTime highlight. 1-2-3 Bang. Juste again does well to quell a right wing attack and lays the ball for Jahouh who just momentarily lifts his head and drops a classic cross field pass to Lanza who smartly crosses it in the dangerous space between Jose & Rehenesh. Neither Rehenesh could step out or Jose try to intercept the cross for fear of an own goal leaving Coro free to have a smart dab and place it in the corner.

Jahouh Cross field pass

And now on to the bad, the first goal conceded. Where do I start? Was it due to Mandar being too light weight that the sturdy Reagan was easily able to brush his challenge leaving him on the floor in the process allowing him to put in an easy cross or was it Cardozo who turned his back when Narzary crossed? Everything is cause and effect. If you can’t prevent the cause than you can at least to some extent limit the effect. And in this case, Juste defensive positioning awareness left a lot to be desired. Notice in pic 1, as the ball drops to Narzary, Juste has the goal scorer Marchino well-marked but as it was crossed, he had some sort of brain fade to leave his marker and move towards Katti who didn’t need his help to collect a potential cross. By the time he recovers, it’s too late.

Juste marking

2nd Goal conceded. In simple terms, replace Juste with Ali in 2nd half opposite end. That’s the only difference. Cause is playing Mosquera onside when he could have easily move one step in line with Das and the effect caused here is leaving him open despite having marked him initially.

Ali marking

The offensive quotient of your team’s makeover can only get you thus far when the defense holds steady. You can’t expect your defenders to be the tough tackling physical John Terry’s of the league but holding them accountable to hold their line in unison, knowing their defensive coverage and man marking assignments during crosses is the least to expect. It’s something for whoever the defensive coach that works with team in session needs to seriously consider.

On another note, Coro might have won the man of the match award but with all due respect he was 3rd in my rankings. Jahouh was the undisputed #1 for me. He runs the show from midfield and brings a level of calmness and organization to what FC Goa does with the ball. He slows down the game when he wants and can unleash a 50 yard cross field pass to a team mate on the left wing over two markers at will. This requires a certain level of skill that others in the team don’t possess for that matter few players in the league. Lanza was instrumental for both goals and took on more responsibility once Brandon got replaced.

At the end, Lobera will feel hard done by the shortcomings of the referee when he missed a clear foul on Coro by Jose. When the standards of referring are seriously called into question then there is the cause and effect quandary here as well. As a League If you can’t prevent the bad decisions or the lack of good ones then at least you can limit the effect by using a Video Assistant Referee.

Get the latest in the world of Sports, Teams, and Players! Free Delivery to your Inbox.