There were reservations about FC Goa and their chances ahead of the 2020-21 ISL (Indian Super League) season. When former coach Sergio Lobera moved from The Gaurs to Mumbai City FC, he took the cream of the side's attack with him. Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mandar Rao Dessai and Mourtada Fall all signed with the Islanders ahead of the season.
New manager Juan Ferrando's first job was to bring in new players and lead the club through the transition period. While the likes of Igor Angulo and Jorge Ortiz weren't the biggest names to sign, Ferrando knew exactly what he was looking for.
In six games, the Gaurs have won two, lost two, and drawn two, a start of the season that many anticipated. Although it has been a slow process, Ferrando is starting to stamp his authority on the side.
The brand of football and the team's attacking play, in particular, have been encouraging. The process will take time, but the Gaurs are seemingly on the right path. We look at three positives from FC Goa's so far this season.
#1 Igor Angulo among the goals
Coro's departure was met with disappointment among FC Goa fans. The 37-year-old currently the top goalscorer in the history of the ISL. With Coro moving back to Spain, Ferrando had little choice but to bring in Igor Angulo from the Poland top-flight.
The 36-year-old arrived at the club with a reputation for scoring goals, but there were doubts about whether the player would adapt to Indian football. Two goals on Angulo's debut put some of the doubts to rest, but following that, they were questions about the player's consistency. The 36-year-old striker would silence his doubters in the games to come.
Angulo has managed to score against all teams except ATK Mohun Bagan and Mumbai City FC, Angulo has managed to get on the scoresheet in all the other games. He has six goals for FC Goa and is currently topping the goalscoring charts in the 2020-21 Indian Super League.
Surrounded by the likes of Alberto Noguera, Brandon Fernandes, and Jorge Ortiz, Angulo has been in rare form. In fact, it seems as though he is just getting started, and will be key for FC Goa as the first leg of the season comes to a close.
#2 Brandon Fernandes is getting back to his best
Brandon Fernandes missed the first couple of games due to a lack of match fitness. However, after making it back in the starting XI, he has added an extra dimension to the FC Goa attack. Fernandes already has two assists to his name this season.
The 26-year-old currently plays alongside Alberto Noguera and Jorge Ortiz behind Igor Angulo. With Lenny Rodrigues marshaling the midfield and Romario Jesuraj providing pace on the wings, Fernandes has the freedom to express himself. However, he still has to cement his place as the attacking midfielder in the side; Ferrando often prefers Princeton Rebello to the player.
#3 Juan Ferrando is close to finding the best combination
Barring a few occasions, FC Goa has been quite fluid in attack. Jorge Ortiz has arguably been their best player and has been involved in most of FC Goa's goals this season. Although they have a long way to go, Juan Ferrando seems to be close to finding the best possible combination for the team.
Ferrando's efforts have to be commended by those who were skeptical about his appointment. The Spaniard, however, has a long way to go to better his predecessor's successes at the club.Published 18 Dec 2020, 17:40 IST