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'The onus is on Chennaiyin and it is their game to lose', Clifford Miranda shifts the impetus onto Chennaiyin FC before crunch second leg  

  • Clifford Miranda maintained that his side needed to strike the right balance between attack and defence on Saturday.
Modified 06 Mar 2020, 17:26 IST

Clifford Miranda stressed that his side intended to play freely and that all pressure was on the visitors
Clifford Miranda stressed that his side intended to play freely and that all pressure was on the visitors

Over the course of the 2019-20 ISL season, FC Goa have cast themselves as the most potent attacking unit across the league, meaning that they’ve made the net ripple on numerous occasions.

On the flip side though, they’ve left the back door open at times, thereby according their rivals a glimmer of hope of staying in the contest, despite being outclassed elsewhere across the pitch.

Rather unfortunately for them, those tendencies were mercilessly exploited by Chennaiyin FC in the first leg of their semi-final. In the process, the Marina Machans established a 4-1 lead and left the Gaurs with a steep mountain to climb.

And, on the eve of the second leg, Hugo Boumous opened up on the difficulty of the task at hand, although he remained positive that his side could turn things around.

If FC Goa are at the top of the table, it is because we have quality. We have great players and I am confident that we can do it, even though it is very difficult.

At the Marina Arena, a week ago, the Gaurs were unable to call upon the mercurial Frenchman, meaning that they lacked a hint of cutting edge in the final third. On his injury, the midfielder quipped,

I started feeling a bit of my groin against Bengaluru FC first. Then, I kept playing and it resurfaced just a week before our semi-final and I was absolutely disappointed to miss the first leg.

With Boumous back in the fold though, one can expect FC Goa to attack from the outset and put the visitors under the cosh instantly, although they might need to guard against the Marina Machans’ counter-attacking threat. 

We know we create a lot of chances and score a lot of goals at home and we have to do that tomorrow as well. But, we need to keep in mind the balance between our attacking game and our defensive game. However, there is no doubt that we will play an offensive match tomorrow.

In fact, Clifford Miranda, the Gaurs’ interim coach, also talked about blending the aforementioned aspects requisitely, stating,

In whatever football I know, I have never seen a match that has been decided in the first ten or fifteen minutes. We will take it progressively and we will take it down to the final minute. When you play a football match, you obviously have to attack and defend. But this game has a different dynamic. We have to be very strong defensively and have to be great in attack to erase the deficit.

Pleasingly for the FC Goa faithful, the club boasts the luxury of a fully fit squad, especially after the returns of Brandon Fernandes, Boumous and Edu Bedia, who had gone back to Spain for a personal emergency. 

It is always nice to have a full squad available. We missed a few players and their absence was vital. Not just in terms of their quality but also as a group. As for Boumous, it’s not just the goals that he gives us. There is a different environment when he is around. Hopefully, he can score some goals for us.

However, the Indian also honestly opened up on how the fixture at Chennai was particularly disappointing, considering the arrears his side now had to take care of.

To be honest, we were disappointed. But, we know there is one game back home in front of our fans, where we are more than comfortable. Obviously, we have our backs against the wall but there is only one way and that is forward. The onus is now on Chennaiyin to make the final and it is their match to lose. We will play freely and with responsibility to our fans and to the ethics of our club.

Furthermore, Clifford issued a rallying call for the FC Goa faithful, stressing that he hoped for them to come out in numbers on Saturday and create as electric an atmosphere as any this season.

Thus, after a rather elaborate and lucid press conference, one reckons the baton now shifts onto the Gaurs’ star-studded line-up to conjure a memorable performance that would be etched in ISL folklore.  

Published 06 Mar 2020, 17:26 IST
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