BENGALURU: It has boiled down to the final day of the group stages to decide the last remaining Indian Super League Playoff spot as Goa FC take on Hyderabad FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday. The equation is quite simple for both teams with the former just needing a draw to progress further while the latter have to emerge victorious.
Goa might have the option of playing for a draw as well, but they are a team, which rely on their attacking style. To be fair, it is that same kind of philosophy that has brought them so far so there is no point changing their game. Goa have been quite prolific at the offensive end, scoring 31, which is joint-second highest number of goals alongside NorthEast United FC. They create a lot of opportunities with their skilled players and Igor Agulo has made the most of it, scoring 13 overall. And Goa coach Juan Ferrando is quite clear about his philosophy for the game.
"We want to play in attack as we want to win,” said the gaffer. “The first rule in professional football is that if you play the sport in school or also in the park, you look to score goals. Of course, when you are working in attack it's necessary to control the spaces because of transitions but players will only enjoy because you want to play in attack all the time. We are only thinking about winning, not in draws," added Ferrando, whose team are on a 12-match unbeaten streak and will be keen to further improve that record.
One has seen how the Guars have upped their game when required in the last two games, defeating Odisha FC and Bengaluru FC . The same can be said about Hyderabad, who defeated Kerala Blasters and drew with ATK Mohun Bagan. In fact, the Nizams have also not lost a single game in 2021.
It is case of two teams, who are quite confident, but Hyderabad are not going to be at their full strength with some key members missing. Aridane Santana, who has scored ten goals so far, will not be available for the match due to suspension. Also, Ashish Rai and Chinglensana Singh will be missing in action.
Irrespective of the players, coach Manuel Marquez field in the playing XI one can expect them to give it their all in the contest, which will determine if their stay in Goa extends or ends.
"I think the mood has been good from the first day and it's like a knockout clash as the team which wins will continue in this competition. More or less, it is like a final. It will be a tough game," Marquez said.