FC Goa, the Indian Super League outfit from the western region of India, is fairytale story in the past seasons. The team co-owned by India national cricket team captain Virat Kohli reached the final once, play-offs twice and also finished a season at the bottom of the table.
When Spanish football manager Sergio Lobera stepped in last year, FC Goa found its lost mojo and the Gaurs were unstoppable in the early part of the season. The attacking department managed by Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote were on fire and Goa smashed the goal scoring record of ISL by firing 42 times.
While the attack was kickass, the defence of FC Goa was miserable as they conceded 28 goals, the most among the top-four clubs last season.
For season 5, FC Goa is once again under the tutelage Sergio Lobera. The Spanish headmaster has brought in Barcelona youth academy product Carlos Pena and the Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall in a bid to tighten up the defence.
Lobera also added Lenny Rodrigues and Jackichand Singh to strengthen while star player Manuel Lanzarote has left for ATK. Despite the absence of Lanzarote, FC Goa's pre-season results indicate they will be unstoppable in Indian Super League season 5.
FC Goa squad for 2018-19
Goalkeepers- Laxmikant Kattimani, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Mohammad Nawaz
Defenders- Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Nirmal Chettri, Chinglensana Singh, Seriton Fernandes, Saviour Gama, Lalhmangaihsanga, Mohamed Ali.
Midfielders- Hugo Boumous, Miguel Palanca Fernandez, Ahmed Jahouh, Mandar Rao Dessai, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Pratesh Shirodkar, Princeton Rebello, Edu Bedia, Lenny Rodrigues, Imran Khan.
Forwards- Ferran Corominas, Liston Colaco, Manvir Singh
Foreign players- Ferran Corominas, Carlos Pena, Miguel Palanca, Edu Bedia, Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall
Team analysis and strength
The Gaurs under Lobera are expected to play attacking football once again. Ferran Corominas will undoubtedly spearhead the attack. Though Liston Colaco and Manvir Singh will compliment Coro there is lack of depth in the attack. Having said that, the arrival of Jackichand Singh and Miguel Palanca are expected to sharpen Goa's wing attack.
The midfield of FC Goa is convincing with players like Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai and local boy Lenny Rodrigues. The team also has good backup options here. Some of the players are tuned for Lobera's attacking football and hence FC Goa's midfield and attack is expected to play a highly harmonious game.
Area of concern
The arrival of Carlos Pena and Mourtada Fall is expected to make the defence strong while the Indian squad looks lack of depth. This also means Pena and Fall have too much of responsibility in the backline of FC Goa.
The goalkeeper group also seems slightly loose. Laxmikant Kattimani wasn't impressive last season while new recruit from Bengaluru FC Lalthuammawia Ralte is lack enough game time.
Top 3 players to watch out
Ferran Corominas- with 18 goals in 20 appearances, the 35-year-old Spaniard was lethal in the last campaign for Goa. The Espanyol player is expected to continue the momentum in ISL 5 as well.
Miguel Palanca- The new recruit, Palanca, has a big void to fill in the FC Goa squad with the exit of Manuel Lanzarote. The former Espanyol and Real Madrid player is mainly a right winger while he can also operate as a forward.
Jackichand Singh- Though Kerala Blasters had a miserable season last year, Jackie's performance for KBFC was convincing enough to get a call from Lobera. The Manipur born winger will be an instrument in sending the ball from the flanks to Coro.