ISL 2020-21: Consistency in extracting results key to FC Goa’s play-off plot

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The Gaurs have almost unceremoniously set a new unbeaten record in the ISL as they are set to make their record six play-off appearance…

No other team had made as many as five appearances in the Indian Super League (ISL) play-offs than FC Goa until the start of the current edition of the competition.

The Goans have gone on to beat their own record under their third coach in Juan Ferrando this season. Previously, Zico led the side to two successive play-offs before failing to achieve the feat in 2016, and Sergio Lobera is the only coach to have led a team to three play-offs in a row when he was at FC Goa.

Barring the ISL season 3 when Goa finished the league at the bottom among eight teams, they have reached the play-off every single time. They have finished first in the league stage in 2015 and last season when they bagged the first ISL League Shield award. However, they have not won the tournament yet, finishing as runners-up twice.

Ishan Pandita, FC Goa vs ATK Mohun Bagan

Enter Ferrando, who has also managed to lead the team to the play-offs. Goa happens to be the only team in the ISL that has had only three coaches in the club history so far. Their success this season has been wrought upon a desire to extract results even when they’ve been outplayed. 

It also has to be noted that the Goans rallied back from a losing position as many as 11 times in 20 games this season from where they accumulated 19 of their 31 points, something that shows the side’s level of resolve.

FC Goa also lost just thrice, as did NorthEast United and Mumbai City, but the thing that hurt in not finishing higher than fourth was the 10 draws – seven of which were in the second half of the league phase. And struggling to register clean sheets this season, it was their first clean sheet in nine games that landed them in this season’s semi-finals after a 0-0 draw against Hyderabad in their last league game.

Ivan Gonzalez FC Goa ISL

“In the end, in this case, I am happy about the point. But in the attack, I am very disappointed. We lost a lot of easy passes. In defence, I am happy,” Ferrando said after the game as defence has been an area of concern for his side.

“The records are not important to me. I am happy that Goa are in the playoffs. I am happy about this point. We controlled the space in a lot of games. A new record should be us winning the trophy (for the first time).”

With regard to a particular feat the Spanish coach referring to, it more or less went unnoticed that Goa broke the record for the longest unbeaten streak that Mumbai City recently set under Lobera this term. Ferrando’s men are on a 13-game unbeaten run. But they face none other than League Shield champions Mumbai City which should be a tough prospect. 

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