ISL 2017: “I liked our personality today," says Lobera after Goa's winning start
FC Goa made a winning start to their Indian Super League campaign with a 3-2 win over Chennaiyin FC away from home. Goa looked sharper than their opponents and displayed great skill on the ball to carve open their opponents, quickly establishing a three-goal lead before the hosts battled back. In the end, Goa held on for the three points.
Their Spanish coach, Sergio Lobera, was bullish yesterday and spoke about playing offensive football ahead of the match. His team did not disappoint. Goals from Ferran Corominas, Manuel Lanzarote and Mandar Rao Desai helped his side to a 3-0 lead at the break with Chennaiyin looking a defeated unit with 45 minutes still to go. Lobera was rightly pleased with the result.
“The first half that we had today was exactly what we wanted and worked for. We did well in the first half and took our chances. We played our best football in the first period,” Lobera said.
The game looked out of sight after Goa's brilliant first-half showing with Lanzarote looking very accomplished in the midfield, his touch and superb passing creating chances for his side. He was fittingly named the Man-of-the-Match for his outstanding showing.
However, Chennaiyin’s half-time changes gave them some impetus and they pressured the Goan defenders a lot more in the second half. While they managed to see out the threat for the most part, two costly errors from their keeper and captain, Laxmikant Kattimani, brought Chennaiyin back into the game.
In the 70th minute, Kattimani let an Inigo Calderon free-kick slip through his grasp. It wasn't struck with much power, but the Goa skipper made a mess of it. Then in the 83rd minute, he clobbered an onrushing Jeje Lalpekhlua to gift Chennaiyin a penalty which Raphael Augusto converted with ease.
Lobera though didn't want to single anyone out for Chennaiyin’s comeback.
“In the second half, we gave them opportunities to come back. That will be a learning curve for us. The goals we gave away were from our mistakes. With due respect to all the keepers, for me Kattimani is the best keeper in this tournament. When we win, we win together and when we lose, we lose together. No one person is responsible for it,” Lobera quipped.
Goa looked shaky under pressure in the second half with their backline, in particular, showing signs of breaking. At times they tried to play the ball out from the back, something Chennaiyin capitalised on and forced errors. In fact, were it not for Gregory Nelson hitting the upright when one-on-one with the keeper in the second minute of the second half, the game might have finished differently.
Lobera though said that the same approach yielded good results in the first half.
“I believe that the best form of defence is attack. In the second half, we suffered. You can say we took risks, but we took risks in the first half as well and it worked well for us,” said the Spaniard.
He also emphasized on the fact that at the end of the day, his side's approach was something that pleased him a great deal.
“I liked our personality today. Despite some mistakes, we continued to follow our style. As I said earlier, the team learned to suffer in the second half. I prefer to suffer and win than suffer and lose. In the end, we won the game and we will learn from our mistakes for the next game,” Lobera concluded.