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ISL 2017-18: What positives can FC Goa take away from the Bengaluru FC loss

BENGALURU FC strolled over FC Goa in what was a record equalling 5th straight win. As the competition enters its final leg of fixtures, Bengaluru is showing why it’s a top bet to win the competition. It’s easily one of the best rounded teams in the ISL 4 boasting of a strong defence, disciplined midfield and a forward line that matches the best if not better having done the business without Miku. Not to mention its lethalness on set pieces for good measure.

Apparently on paper, FC Goa lined up in 4-2-3-1 with Manvir who’s by trade is a traditional target man. No harm in trying to experiment and while he did manage to sting Gurpreet’s palm with a nice long ranger, his movements instinctually were that of a forward. The apparent lack of an extra attacking midfielder clearly played into the way Roca set up his midfield to stifle Goa’s ball movements and creativity. Brandon has been a miss as I have had highlighted on how he’s able to manipulate rival defences by his off ball & inverted movements drifting in and out central spaces from the right of midfield. These movements draw defences out creating spaces for Mandar and Coro.

I have noticed a fraction of the fan base questioning Coro’s influence to being on the wane. Worth mentioning again that he’s been heavily marked and like yesterday showed asking him to drop back with back to goal in order to link up is not exactly playing to his strengths. He needs to be given every opportunity to attack the goal.

When your midfield is stifled and not able create chances for forward line to apply pressure early on then the unreliable department of your team will eventually get exposed. Bengaluru just had to wait for the chances and took them well. The first goal conceded on the corner beggars’ belief as to what one of the shorter players in Seriton was marking on set pieces. In my opinion, its usually the shorter player (with a decent leap) placed at the far post while a more stronger physical player able to hold his position in the zone which in this case should have been Bruno. Bengaluru was smart to pick that quickly and direct the corner accordingly.

If any of the recent games are any indication of where the defense needs improving and can be realistically addressed is its ability to play a simple side on defensive line. It’s not difficult; Mumbai played it well against Goa with Tavora as makeshift wingback so it shouldn’t be an issue for the Goan defenders who have been playing in their positions regularly. To be honest, it doesn’t give me any pleasure of putting up stills graphics illustrating where the Goan defenders haven’t been able to hold a decent offside line trap. But here goes, one player plays 3 Bengaluru players onside.

So where do we go from here? Chennaiyin, Kerala and Jamshedpur stand in Goa’s path to the final 4. Chennaiyin should be best placed to notch up enough points on the board and secure the 3rd spot after Bengaluru and Pune.  Goa has played one less game than Jamshedpur and 2 than Kerala. Jamshedpur’s game tomorrow vs Chennaiyin on Sunday should make things interesting. But, Goa should pick two wins and a draw to ensure passage into the knockout stages. If Brandon misses more games than Lobera should go with a more like for like replacement to his position in order to bring out the true impact of his 4-2-3-1 formation.

There were positives from the Bengaluru game, Boumous showed some nice touches and ability to get forward. I wouldn’t have any qualms about playing him as a central attacking midfielder and shifting lanza on the right as an inverted winger. Lanza was able to run in to some spaces at the end and get couple of shots on goal when Boumous came on. Worthy mention to Naveen Kumar showed confidence, brave in stepping out to block coverage and good strong hand while stopping couple of goal bound attempts.

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