FC Goa turned it on when it mattered most as a five-star performance from Sergio Lobera’s side ensured that going into Sunday’s crucial encounter with Jamshedpur, fate is in their own hands. The Gaurs started like a house on fire and were three-nil up inside half an hour; in ATK’s defence, they never stopped trying and it didn’t seem like they chucked in the towel at any point which is testament to Ashley Westwood’s management of the side.
The 5-1 scoreline moved Goa up to fourth in the table with one remaining game and Lobera has always insisted it that as long as it remains in their own hands, that they’ll be alright and if they can perform against Jamshedpur like they did yesterday, who am I to argue with them.
For defending champions ATK, yesterday was about nothing else apart from pride for them and despite the four-goal deficit, it could’ve been completely different had they had shooting boots of their own on. They go into their final game of the season against NorthEast knowing that if they avoid defeat, they won’t finish bottom, which is some consolation, I suppose.
Goa picking up three points yesterday also meant that Kerala are now eliminated; they can overhaul Goa’s point tally, however, with Goa facing Jamshedpur on the final it means they can’t overtake both of them. If Goa and Jamshedpur draw with one another on Sunday, FC Goa will qualify over Kerala due to a better head-to-head record. I know it’s complicated, that’s why I’ve done this, which should make it clearer.
We’ve got a few goals to rattle through and then shift onto the talking points like we did with the Delhi report. Sergio Juste got off the mark for the season as he put Goa one to the good as he headed home Hugo Boumous’ pinpoint corner. That was after ten minutes.
Three Goals In Twenty One Minutes
Only another five minutes had gone by before Lanzarote made it two as he responded the quickest after Soram Aganba pushed out Desai’s drive from just outside the box; he could’ve finished first time, but he was relaxed enough to take a touch and then put it home. Lanzarote was at it again shortly afterwards as he cut in from the right and bent it in the corner. The confidence was oozing off Manuel.
Hopefully, you’re keeping track, if not, it’s 3-0. After three goals in the first twenty-one minutes of the game, we suffered a bit of a lull and had to wait until the 64th minute for there to be another name added to the scoresheet. It’ll come as no surprise at all that that man was Coro. A beautifully taken free-kick went beyond Aganba as he was having a game he’ll not want to remember.
Sifneos Off The Mark
Something weird happened next. The ball went in the net down the other end! Zequinha put the ball into the area on a plate for Robbie Keane, although, the Irishman still had a lot to do; precision is the word I’m looking for, I think. It was just out of reach for Naveen Kumar as a second clean sheet in a row slipped away. 4-1, did we have chance of a comeback? Well, no, no we didn’t.
Coro was withdrawn with seventeen minutes left as Lobera would’ve no doubt been keen to keep his talisman fresh for Sunday’s encounter with the ‘Men Of Steel’, in his place came Sifneos. The ex-Kerala Blasters man will seemingly be having the last laugh over his former employers as FC Goa seem to be on course to make the play-offs and he opened his account with Goa for the season as he expertly finished after beating the offside trap. That was that. FC Goa 5-1 ATK.
Goals all covered off there, now it’s time for some talking points around it all. Make sure you buckle up.
#1 What Might Have Been For Keane?
Robbie Keane has scored goals all over the world and you really do have to wonder where ATK would be in the table if Keane was fit all season. Yesterday’s goal took him to five for the season which isn’t bad when you consider that works out as a goal every 120 minutes he’s played this season. To give you some idea of how that marries up to the rest, Coro is currently averaging a goal every 91 minutes, so he’s not a million miles away.
It’s not just goals that he contributes though, he’s a motivating player to have on the pitch with you and because of his seniority in the squad, a lot of the players will thrive off him being on the pitch as well. Prior to him scoring against FC Goa, he had one other really good chance, but, his attempt went inches over the bar. If that had gone in, it really would’ve been game on. Ok, ok, maybe not.
#2 To Teddy or Not Teddy, That Is The Question
Yesterday marked the seventh game that Ashley Westwood took charge of after Sheringham was dismissed earlier in the season. It’s still crystal clear as to why Sheringham was dismissed, although, we’re not here to look at that, we’re going to focus on the results between the two of them. Westwood is still yet to win as manager of ATK and he’s only managed to avoid defeat once. Under his stewardship, ATK have shipped eighteen goals, nine of them coming in the last two and scored eight.
While you have to take into consideration that ATK didn’t have anything to play for in the last two, conceding nine goals in two games is not clever. Sheringham, on the other hand, oversaw ten games as head-coach/manager/whatever else you want to call it and his return is astronomically better. His win rate may well have only been 30%, but with the draws included as well, it means that more often than not, his side would pick up a positive result. Similar to the Keane situation, I wonder what would’ve been if Sheringham had stayed for the whole campaign…
#3 Brilliant Boumous
This lad is going places. The plaudits should rightly go to Lanzarote for his exquisite performance yesterday, nevertheless, Goa have got someone special in Hugo Boumous. He’s made the transition from Moroccan side Moghreb Tetouan to the ISL seamlessly and if Lobera can keep hold of him, he’ll definitely be one to watch. Boumous, 22, has only spent 329 minutes on the pitch for Goa, but, you could easily end up thinking he’s been there for years if you watch him.
Stats wise, he’s scored twice, assisted twice and is just an all-round menace when he’s playing. The ex-Laval man has got a fantastic ability to drive forward with the ball and on more than one occasion he has left defenders in his dust; think roadrunner and coyote off Looney Tunes. That’s all folks.
I’m done for the day, I’ll be back to go through the Bengaluru vs Kerala Blasters game with you all tomorrow. It’s meant to be a sell-out crowd so it should be a goodun.
Until the next time.