ISL 2019-20: Miranda believes FC Goa had their moments in first leg loss to Chennaiyin FC
- The absences of Brandon Fernandes and Hugo Boumous proved very costly for the visitors.
Table-toppers FC Goa suffered a 1-4 defeat at the hands of Chennaiyin FC on Saturday evening in the first leg of their Indian Super League semifinal clash, leaving them a huge mountain to climb in the second leg in Goa.
Having managed to contain Chennaiyin's threat for the first half, Goa looked to be on level pegging until Lucian Goian broke the deadlock with a header from a free-kick in the 54th minute. After that breakthrough, Chennaiyin took the game by the scruff of the neck scoring three more times, before Saviour Gama netted Goa an away goal in the closing minutes.
After claiming pre-match that he had a full squad to choose from, Clifford Miranda sprung a surprise when two key players, Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes, were both left out of the starting eleven. The effect was seismic as Goa could not get their free-flowing attacking game going in their absence.
Quizzed on the unavailability of his two stars after the match, Miranda said -
"Hugo has been sick. So that's why he has not traveled with the team. Brandon has a minor problem. We decided to give him a few extra days of rest, hoping that he would be fit in time for the second leg a week from now."
Miranda then went on to say that despite the two big names missing, he felt he was confident about his team's chances.
"They are both fantastic players and I would have loved to have them. But ultimately it's a team game. And I felt today the team gave it their all. The small details in the end made a difference."
With the two notable absentees, Goa decided to mostly sit back and hit Chennaiyin on the counter. They lacked their usual attacking flair. However, Miranda claimed they tried to play in their usual manner.
"We tried to play our natural way. We had a few chances in the match. I think we could have scored a second goal and 4-2 I think would have been a fair result. But I will take the 4-1."
'Missed opportunities' and 'moments' were a feature of Miranda's post match presser as he believed Chennaiyin won many key moments in the game which swung the game their way.
"We had our chances. They had theirs. I thought we came back strong after their start early in the match. But they scored when they got the chance and we didn't. I think there were some small margins where the game was decided."
"We defended well in the first half. But the goal in the second swung the momentum their way. These things happen in football and then they had a good spell for 10-15 minutes."
Saviour's late goal, however, claimed Miranda, could be crucial come the end of the tie. While he acknowledged that overturning a three-goal deficit would be a monumental task, he still felt his side could make a comeback.
"The goal gives us a fighting chance in the second leg. I know that it's going to be very, very tough against an in-form side like Chennaiyin. But I believe if anyone can do it, it's these set of guys at FC Goa."Published 01 Mar 2020, 06:47 IST