Herald: Wounded Gaurs to put up a brave fight today
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Wounded Gaurs to put up a brave fight today

16 Apr 2018 05:03am IST
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16 Apr 2018 05:03am IST
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With five suspended and four injured, Derrick is left with just 14 players to field against East Bengal

Allan D’Cruz

allan@herald-goa.com

PANJIM: Coach Derrick Pereira made history by becoming first Indian coach to guide an Indian Super League team in any competition and the Goan gaffer can yet again script his name into the history books, as he is just two steps away from the Super Cup glory.

Taking charge in absence of Sergio Lobera, Derrick Periera, had made it clear that FC Goa would continue their attacking football –and the team showed it in the first two matches knocking out counterparts --ATK and Jamshedpur FC.

The attacking approach was inevitable with Ferran Corominas —the ISL top league goal-scorer leading the team’s attack. Despite Manuel Lanzarote and Ahmed Jahou being absent, Gaurs smashed in eight goals in two matches and living up to club’s philosophy set by Sergio Lobera. Thanks to Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes for assisting Ferran Corominas in getting the much needed goals. 

However, coming into the semi-finals clash, Goa face a determined East Bengal at Bhubaneswar amid a huge crisis. A crisis that every coach least hopes for —the availability of players!

FC Goa’s dream run in the tournament has been marred by injuries and suspensions.

Coach Derrick will have to start from scratch when he locks horns with East Bengal and tactician Khalid Jamal on Monday.


Players suspension 

a worry!

Derrick faces the dilemma of team selections as five of his preferable and potential game starters are suspended due to bookings while four more have been reported injured, that leaves him only with 14 players for the clash.

FC Goa’s Brandon Fernandes, Bruno Pinheiro and Sergio were sent off in their quarter-final clash following their involvement in the brawl with Jamshedpur FC players. The trio were flashed straight red along with three others from Jamshedpur FC.

The trio have been just imposed sanction by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) of suspension in two consecutive matches over and in addition to the automatic suspensions of the subsequent match imposed under the AIFF Disciplinary code.  That leaves the trio out of action for the rest of the tournament.

Adding woes…

Adding to these woes, FC Goa will also miss the services of Pronay Halder and playmaker Hugo Boumous as the duo stand suspended for the semi-final clash after receiving their second yellow card against Jamshedpur FC.

Hugo had pumped-in three goals for FC Goa in two games and rightfully supported Coro and others in the absence of Lanza.


The ghost of the past 

Goa’s defence have always been a talking point! With two key players — Bruno Pinheiro and Sergio Juste, out, the ghost of the past comes to haunt the Gaurs back again. FC Goa are left with no experienced player in back line and injured Sana and Jonathan Cardozo add to further misery for the Gaurs. Goa will also miss Lanza and keeper Naveem Kumar. Kattimani is due to start the match while Derrick will have to depute the stopper-back roles to Mohamed Ali with Seriton and Narayan Das in defence. With Pronay and Juste out too, Goa’s forgotten player — Prathesh Shirodkar should get a start and opportunity to prove his worth at the club. However, the defence will have to deal with East Bengal’s playmaker K Yusa and former Gaur Dudu.


Coro the hope!

With Brandon and Hugo out of action, ISL golden boot winner Coro will be FC Goa’s only hope against Khalid Jamal’s side on their road to the final. Hugo and Brandon scored five of the team’s goal eight goals scored in the tournament so far.


From the rivals camp

On the road to semis, East Bengal have left it late against their opponents. They first knocked out Mumbai City FC in a thrilling 2-1 before setting aside Aizawl FC in the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win. 

On paper, East Bengal side looks a better side than the present FC Goa team considering their players’ suspensions. East Bengal will hope that K Yusa, Mahmoud Amna and A Kromah deliver once again wherein their combine effort would trouble a new-look FC Goa team.

East Bengal will miss the services of Mohammed Rafique, who is out with an injury. 

Their frontman Dudu has caused a stir following his remarks towards the East Bengal fans accusing and claiming of racial remarks from a section of people, however, the Nigerian is expected to start the game and his goal scoring instincts might cause some trouble for Goa’s defence.
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