FC Goa will look to build on their newfound momentum when they take on lowly NorthEast United FC in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Friday. The game tomorrow will see history being made as two Indian head coaches — Derrick Pereira and Khalid Jamil — will lock horns in the league for the first time. “I am happy that Indian coaches are getting an opportunity to lead. If you give them a bit more opportunity and exposure they will flourish more and can prove themself in the highest levels,” Pereira said.
At SC East Bengal, former India captain Renedy Singh took charge of the team for three games after Jose Manuel Diaz parted ways with the side.
Under Derrick Pereira, Goa won their last game against Chennaiyin FC after coming out with a point against Kerala Blasters before that. The Gaurs are ninth in the table with 12 points from 10 games and Pereira would hope to start the second leg on the front foot.
For Goa, Jorge Ortiz has been a key figure and since returning from a two-match suspension, the Spaniard has been all guns blazing. Ortiz put the ball in the back of the net in all the three matches he played, netting four now and providing three assists so far. In the last match, Ortiz scored the winner from outside the box. Goa also kept their first clean sheet this season and Anwar Ali’s impressive debut was also another highlight for them.
“The table does not reflect the quality we have. The league is unpredictable but our focus right now is on the next match rather than focusing long term. However, with the process we have in place, I am sure we can finish in the top positions,” Pereira remarked.
For NorthEast, who are sitting a rung below Goa at 10th place, a loss to Jamshedpur FC saw them without a win in the last three games. Head coach Khalid Jamil can take heart from the fact that Deshorn Brown has found his scoring boots.
Brown scored a brace in NorthEast United’s 3-2 defeat against Jamshedpur. He has now scored five goals in his last two matches for the club. NorthEast beat Goa 2-1 the first time the two sides met this season.
Jamil was not short of praise for his compatriot Pereira. “Credit to Derrick, once he has come in, the team has looked good. They have played some good matches and have adapted well to the new formation. It will be a good challenge for our team,” Jamil said.