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FC Goa should be on a dress rehearsal for final

FC Goa should be on a dress rehearsal for final


Sports Editor



FC Goa is a step away from making it to the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) for the second time and enjoy a four goal advantage over Mumbai City FC – first time semifinal debutants – as they meet each other for the second leg of the ISL 5 semifinal at Nehru stadium in Fatorda today.

The path to the final is almost certain but not fully certain because had it been, football would not have been a beautiful game. Mumbai FC needs an outside chance to win 5-0 to stop FC Goa’s progress and keeping the hosts form in Sergio Lobera’s second season at the helm, winning big appears to be an improbability sitting on Jorge Costa’s shoulders.

An early goal will be the trigger to FCGoa’s journey to Mumbai again – this time for the finals though. And, keeping FC Goa’s form in mind, Sergio could well juggle with his team and lay the plans for the final match of ISL 5 on Sunday.

Sergio has prodded FC Goa so far revolving play around the nucleus of his team – the five foreign players- and may opt to bring about a change, to give playing time to others or try another format. Change is something FC Goa can resort to because FC Mumbai City has never played compelling football with FC Goa .

Since the time FC Goa, under Brazilian Zico , beat Mumbai City 7-0 ,  Mumbai has never been able to take off against FC Goa  on the rails or on the football field.  Mumbai City has conceded 12 goals in three matches this season and scored one.

The two teams have had a different pattern of play before they meet for the second leg of the semifinal today. FC Goa has been consistent whilst Mumbai City FC has been the opposite – giving shocks and absorbing shocks in the same measure. FC Goa showed a rhythm to progress to the finals while Mumbai City stood up every time they seemed to be rolling out of context.

Mumbai City FC started intelligently against FC Goa in the first semifinal in Mumbai but slipped the initiative to FC Goa during the second session. What could have ended as a contest with the second semifinal an event to be looked for , ended with FC Goa returning back to pack their bags for a return trip for the finals in Mumbai.

Jorge Costa will look to see that Mumbai City FC finishes of in style after making their first semifinal appearance. A win will validate some pride but that pride will not hurt FC Goa as the hosts will be focused on winning their first ISL title.

If FC Goa scores first, it will signal the end of the semifinal contest; if Mumbai scores first, and does so early into the match, the contest may still have an outside chance of being open. In all probabilities, the second leg of the semifinals may well be a dress rehearsal for the final on Sunday.  Unless, the eleven Jorge Costa sends on the field have
another plan.

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