The date is February 12, 2020. There is stunned silence around the Fatorda. Rowlin Borges has just breached FC Goa's defenses to give Mumbai City FC the lead, and thus a hope of making it to the playoffs.
The stunned FC Goa faithful watch in hope as Jahouh, Boumous, and Coro try to muster something in attack. Coro brings the ball forward, Boumous and Jackichand are on either side of him. As Jacki sends the ball into the box, Boumous misses as Coro jumps in and finds the back of the net.
Fatorda erupts. Mumbai’s lead has lasted a little over a minute. Coro would score yet another goal and the party wouldn’t stop in Goa following a 5-2 victory and a top-of-the-table finish. At the end of the season, Coro would have 55 goals in all competitions for FC Goa in just three years at the club, scoring almost a goal per game.
At the end of the 2019-20 season, FC Goa looked like a spent force. Coach Sergio Lobera left in January, with Clifford Miranda taking over in the interim. The core of FC Goa's attack - Jahouh, Boumous, and club captain Mandar Rao Dessai -defected to Mumbai City FC.
However, Coro's leaving would probably hurt them the most. In fact, up until Sergio Lobera’s position as head coach was made vacant, the Spaniard had managed 11 goals for the season. And, more importantly, FC Goa were sitting pretty atop the ISL table.
Was Coro let go because of his age?
So why didn’t FC Goa manage to retain Coro? Of all the theories, the most plausible one is that the 37-year-old Spaniard may not have the legs or the industry in front of goal anymore. It is certainly a valid argument. However, Lobera has essentially built the squad around the striker, and the goals have increased on a rather consistent basis each season.
FC Goa have scored 205 goals since the inception of the ISL, a country mile ahead of Chennaiyin FC with 164 goals to their name. Without a doubt, Coro's 50-odd goals have had a massive part to play in this statistic.
Another aspect that quashes the 'age argument' is the fact that he was courted by several clubs in the league. Although we don't know for sure which clubs were interested, the fact that he has signed for Atletico Baleares is evidence enough. The club aims to make it to the Segunda Division of the Spanish League in the upcoming season, and Coro is expected to play a large part.
FC Goa forcing a complete squad overhaul
This season has seen the entry of the highly-rated Igor Angulo to FC Goa. With him, youngsters Phrangki Baum and Devendra Murgaonkar would also be expected to come good. Angulo went so far to state that the squad would not miss the likes of Coro.
Angulo said, "As I said, we have a very good squad and I'm sure that we will not miss him. I wish him the best because I know him personally from when we were playing together in the Spanish U-21 national team."
The Spaniard might have smashed 80 odd goals in Poland. One does question if that is enough to overhaul the entire squad around him. With the Covid pandemic hampering training, it may be difficult for players who have not played together before to develop team chemistry.
While Coro decided to move back to Spain, certain other managerial decisions make it clear that the battle cry is 'Forward'. Yet, it will be interesting to see how the likes of Igor Angulo, Redeem Tlang, and Jorge Ortiz fit into the massive shoes of Coro, Boumous, and Jahouh.Published 04 Oct 2020, 17:06 IST