On the train to heaven


FC Goa were nearly there. Just when it appeared they were on a train to heaven, they ran short of time but that did not stop them for letting Mumbai FC know that Fatorda is the turf that allows them to score at will when their opponents cannot convert the chances on their platter.

5-0 is close to 7-0. Sergio Lobera and his boys took the 15,000 odd fans gathered through a journey of nostalgia. FC Goa scored early and then spent most of the remaining forty five minutes trying to contain their opponents and, took their fans to a party of goals in the second.

Coro started the scoring for FC Goa. He earned the first penalty and confidently converted. The goal saw Mumbai on a resurgent wave. They played all over FC Goa but could not find a goal because the hosts kept the initiative of scoring away from their opponents with dodged defending. FC Goa scored in the sixth minute and allowed Mumbai city to play the melody for the remaining part.

Mumbai City FC attacked incessantly. They earned four free kicks in the nine minutes after conceding and kept the FC Goa players in their own half. However, their shots were either deflected away by the FC Goa defenders or the shot out. The visitors tried to play to deep into the FC Goa territory and failed.

Sergio Lobera must have driven hard the message of goals to his boys during the break because after scoring the second, they kept on scoring and even Mumbai coach Jorge Costa appeared to have thrown in the towel after the fifth goal slipped in. The last two goals of FC Goa demonstrated the mindset of – the more, the merrier.

When a team scores five goals, the message is clear – no one is missing, the goals keep coming if the focus is goals. Coro may have scored one but it was the contribution of the rest that showed Sergio is well on his way of proving that no one is dispensable if the ethos is not forgotten.

Edu Bedia is grooming himself beautifully and gave his team a sway that found the opponents at loss of the next step forward. He moved the ball intelligently, interwove passes between Ahmed Jahou and Lenny Rodrigues and had a crack at goal when the opportunity presented itself. He scored one but that number could have been different if not for a few whiskers short.

Jackichand Singh played hard and his goal was a result of that hard work. He moved forward when least expected and flicked the ball when few thought he could be there and it was his goal that actually set FC Goa on a goal scoring swing.

Sergio made two substitutions and both proved their master right. Manvir jumped on a Mumbai defense lapse to provide the other substitute Palanca a goal scoring on a platter and Ahmed Jahou followed that with another one. Palanca buried both with ease.

FC Goa goalkeeper Mohammad Nawaz was tested twice. The first try he collected with ease while he showed in the second the talent that he has in him. He play short with his colleagues in the defense for major part of the game and twice literally let the initiative slip to his opponents. But, maturity sets in with mistakes.

Captain Mandar appeared out of place with the concept of total football. He tried to move forward; he tried to play back; he tried to cut across goal. It will be a matter of time before Sergio makes him understand to enjoy the ball all over the field.

Mumbai City played good football after conceding the first goal. Brazilian Rafael Bastos could have turned the tide had he capitalised on the opportunities that fell at his feet. He missed one, two ….and in the confusion displayed glimpses of Brazilian football when in one instance he let the ball run past three FC Goa players  just with his body feints.

Mumbai City captain Paulo Machado had a good game but the good could not be translated into goals as either they fail to shoot straight or tried too hard to run deep into the FC Goa defense.

If FC Goa could score, Mumbai City FC could not. Yet, Fatorda turned to be a playfield of Goals and it is goals that bring the fans back to the stadium. This is what Sergio had planned out to do and it is exactly what is happening.