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Carlos Pena: We didn’t give up till the last moment, but lot to learn from Kerala game

Gaurs look to learn from their mistake before taking on ATK Mohun Bagan this coming Sunday 


Mumbai/Goa, November 14, 2022: FC Goa fell 3-1 to Kerala on Sunday night in Kochi after the home side ran a blitzkrieg seven minutes either side of the interval to help themselves to three goals. However, even with a mountain of 3 goals to climb in front of a raucous partisan crowd, the Gaurs refused to give up and if not some brilliant goalkeeping to combine with sloppy touches in the final third, Carlos Pena’s men could have still made a game out of it. 


Speaking to following the defeat, the Spaniard felt this would serve as a learning experience whilst showering praise on the his troops for the fighting spirit. 


“The team didn't give up even after going into the half 2-0, which hurt us a lot. Even at 3-0 we believed,” Pena said. “We came back strong but it wasn’t enough. But there was no doubt that the players played till the final whistle and I am happy to see the attitude of the team.


“It’s now time to learn from the game and analyse what happened. We are going to learn a lot from this, I am sure.” 


Problems and solutions


Pena further illuminated on what he thought were the biggest issues with the performances and how they sought to solve them within the game. 


“In the first half, we gave too many chances to hit us in transition. We knew that they are a team that can hurt us in the transition phase. We couldn't counter-press properly. We couldn't press them high enough on the pitch,” the FC Goa head coach added.

“In the second half, we played better as we expanded the pitch with our wingers - with Redeem and Noah playing on the two sides. That helped create chances for us. 

“That’s why we took Brandon (Fernandes) off. We felt we needed more players working in the wide areas. Iker and Brandon weren't working the best as a duo in the middle of the pitch.” 

Injury woes in defence

Goa’s backline has seen a lot of chopping and changing in the last couple of games with injuries proving to be a real nuisance for Pena. Last week saw Fares Arnaout get his first start in FC Goa colours against Jamshedpur after Marc Valiente had been sidelined owing to an injury. The Syrian international’s time on the pitch though was cut short on his debut thanks to an injury of his own. 

It took Glan Martins’ intervention to shore up Pena’s worries last week. However, the Indian international was unavailable for this game owing to an injury he picked up last game - giving Saviour Gama his first start of the campagn. Gama lasted only 20 minutes before Sanson Pereira took his place on the field. 

Giving an update on the concerns, Pena said, “Our foreign players (in defence) were not available, so couldn’t start any of them. In regards to Gama, we are awaiting test results to further evaluate his situation.”

Pena will hope to get over his injury concerns at the back as all roads now lead home for FC Goa where they are set to entertain high-flying ATK Mohun Bagan in what promises to be another Sunday Blockbuster in Fatorda.

About FC Goa 

FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Indian Super League (ISL). Nicknamed the Gaurs, FC Goa has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the ISL - reaching 4 semi-finals and 2 finals in 8 seasons.

Heading into the 2022-23 season of the HISL, FC Goa holds the record for most wins, most goals, most golden boots and most number of playoff appearances in the history of the competition.

FC Goa became the first team from India to qualify for the league stages of the AFC Champions League in 2021 by virtue of winning the first-ever Hero ISL League Winners Shield in the 2019-20 season. 

The Gaurs trophy cabinet is also adorned by the 2019 Super Cup, the 2018-19 GFA Pro League,  and the 2021 Durand Cup. 

Co-owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, Mr Akshay Tandon and Mr Virat Kohli, FC Goa is one of the few Indian Clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. Its U14, U16, U18 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and India.

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