There have been some entertaining teams in the history of the Hero Indian Super League: Chennaiyin FC with Elano Blumer and Stiven Mendoza in full swing; Delhi Dynamos with Marcelinho last season and the FC Goa of 2015 under legendary ‘White Pele’ Zico to name a few. But this season, Sergio Lobera’s men have taken it to another level, with FC Goa having scored at a rate of 2.33 goals a match.
FC Goa had 22 goals in their first nine matches, then hit an unexplained bad patch but regained form in the last three matches to score 12 and concede only one. Just to put it into perspective, last season’s highest scoring team Delhi Dynamos scored 27 in 14 matches.
And no one could be happier than the former La Masia coach that his methods are working: “I’m happy to be scoring at this rate because what it does is that it gratifies the type of football we are trying to showcase. When I first got here, I communicated that I wanted to play an offensive and attacking style of football and I think with us scoring goals, it shows that things are working and we are a team capable of scoring goals,” he said.
There is a doubt that most of this is down to the incredible form of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote. The duo have a combined 30 goals, but the club remains more than just those two.
“I don’t think any two players in this league can dictate the fortunes of an entire team. There are always players whose names are likely to show up on the score sheet and it’s good that they are capable of that but it’s always a result of the collective effort,” said Lobera.
Lobera had said before the season started that he believes in Barcelona’s philosophy – the club that made him and instilled in him a base to play attacking football. His side thrives on urgency in the final third. But it’s not just about attacking, it’s also about controlling midfield. FC Goa have the most number of average passes per match, the most number of shots per game and the most number of touches per game.
Needless to say, Lobera would rather risk leaking in goals than scraping a result.
“We want them to witness a vibrant brand of football. We want them to be emotionally charged but play a beautiful game. We don’t want to be happy when the referee blows the final whistle because we scraped points but rather know that the fans enjoyed a good brand of football. I think a good game of football is good for everyone, not just the fans but also the league as well and we hope that fans go back home happy having enjoyed 90 minutes of good football.”
This vibrant brand means the risk of conceding goals. Here’s the flip-side, Lobera’s team have let in 28 goals, the highest number of goals conceded by top six teams in the league. The Spaniard understands the need to keep clean sheets but he will be happy with the result as long as his team is scoring more than the opposition.