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FC Goa Coach Derrick Pereira during practice session (Image: FC Goa)
FC Goa Coach Derrick Pereira during practice session (Image: FC Goa)

ISL: FC Goa look to end season on high with win against Kerala Blasters

ANI | Updated: Mar 06, 2022 13:49 IST

Bambolim (Goa) [India], March 6 (ANI): It has been tough, but it's now nearly at an end. After several twists and turns in what has been a rocky ISL campaign so far, FC Goa are gearing up for battle, for one last time. They will take on playoff hopefuls Kerala Blasters on Sunday, and will attempt to end their season on a positive note with a rare win.
Currently, in ninth place with just 18 points, the Gaurs have won only four games so far this season. They were in a similar situation only once before - in 2016, which is also the only other time when the Men in Orange did not qualify for the playoffs in their history.
Kerala Blasters, on the other hand, are enjoying what is probably their best league campaign to date. After failing to book a berth in the top-four in each of the past four seasons, they are now just one win away from doing it this time around.
While FC Goa's campaign was underwhelming in terms of results, head coach Derrick Pereira is keen to look at the bright side of things. "This was a learning curve for us. In my case, I experienced life in a bio-bubble for the first time. The players, although not new to it, had a different experience this time around," he said.
"A lot of external factors affected our performances and results. Individual mistakes - not just of players but also those of the match officials in some cases - was one of them. We had to make last-minute adjustments to the lineups because of COVID-19 and injuries. We could've done many things differently in an ideal situation. But now, we will focus only on our final game, and we will hope to end the season on a good note," Pereira added.

The Gaurs have always looked to go into every game with three points on their mind. And it won't be any different on Sunday. A win against the Blasters will help in ending the season positively, which is important in its own way as it sets the tone for next season's preparations. The same sentiment was echoed by the club's assistant coach, Clifford Miranda, last week. "Wrapping up the season with a win is important as it will put us in the right position to start preparing for our next league campaign," he had said.
The Men in Orange will hence look to do exactly that, and in doing so will also be able to put a dampener on Kerala Blasters' own top-four hopes. The Kochi outfit will also be looking for a win as the three points are necessary to fuel their run-up to the playoffs.
With Ivan Vukomanovic at the helm, the team from Kochi seem to have hit the right chords. Unlike previous seasons, their foreign contingent has delivered and gelled well with the domestic stars.
They have lost just once in their last five games and scored ten goals during this period. The front-four of Alvaro Vazquez, Jorge Pereyra Diaz, Adrian Luna and Sahal Abdul Samad are in fine form and will surely be a threat for the Gaurs' defence led by Ivan Gonzalez.
Both teams, hence, have different objectives in mind for Sunday. While FC Goa will walk out to the pitch seeking a consolation win, Kerala Blasters will be looking for the three points that will confirm their playoff prospects. (ANI)