Mumbai, November 20: With news that Sergio Lobera has signed a one-year contract extension at FC Goa as chief coach, opposition must have been left frustrated, while neutrals will be celebrating.
For more than one season, Lobera’s teams have been entertaining the fans in the Hero Indian Super League and everyone seems to have fallen in love with the team that always looks to start the match on the front foot. In the past too, FC Goa – coached by Brazilian football legend Zico – played an attacking game, but there now seems to be a method to Goan teams under Lobera. They are simply unstoppable.
“This has been a fantastic experience for me. Personally, I would have to commend the club for building an environment around which we all can develop in both the personal and professional spheres. There is still a lot to do, I have to be steadfast and challenge myself every day to help the club reach its true potential in the future,” said Lobera.
Goa’s true potential will be to do better than what Zico did in 2015. The Brazilian legend took the team to the final, losing 2-3 to Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. Can Lobera do even better? Possibly.
This season, the Gaurs have scored 21 goals in seven games, seven more than Jamshedpur FC who come second on the list.
Clearly, attack is the best form defence for Lobera’s side. Ferran Corominas has racked up eight goals and four assists in six matches. He seems to have picked up from where he left last season, and improved manifold, despite the absence of his trusted aide in attack from last season, Manuel Lanzarote.
It’s just not that Corominas seems to find himself in the right place at the right time. FC Goa’s entire team is shaped around his attacking nous. For example, during the team’s rout of FC Pune City, Hugo Boumous and Jackichand Singh were in perfect sync with the Spanish attacker to position themselves appropriately to dispatch their chances. This extends to the rest of the attack as well.
In the five-goal rout of Mumbai, Edu Bedia and Jackichand complemented each other well. The entire attacking apparatus of Lobera, coupled with his brand of football, seem to have taken the team to a new level.
If you swing a microscope over to the Goans’ midfield, you’d be surprised at the output churned at this stage of the tournament. Four FC Goa midfielders (Ahmed Jahouh, Bedia, Lenny Rodrigues and Boumous) are among the tournament’s top 10 passers.
Despite this, FC Goa only are third in the total number passes made in the tournament. This will tell you that the team dabbles in fast build-up and dynamic attacking.
A particular player of interest in this regard is Jahouh. The Moroccan has been quite a find, with him being a nerve centre of sorts for the Goans. Lenny and Jahouh are also up in the top three when it comes to tackles made, making FC Goa’s midfield one of the toughest to get past.
“To beat our offensive stats from last season is a difficult ask as we were able to break some records. However, we can still improve in the defensive areas and that is what we will be working on,” said Lobera.
FC Goa have elevated themselves to become the league’s best attacking side by sheer power of will and talent. Their entertainment quotient is built on solid understanding of each other’s traits, and execution of a plan set in place by Lobera.
Little wonder they captivate the audience like no other, and with Lobera extending his contract at FC Goa, there will be plenty more.