ANI Photo | ISL: FC Goa coach Marquez expresses disappointment with team’s character following loss to Mumbai City

FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez felt disappointed as his team was stunned by Mumbai City FC in the first leg of semi-final 2 of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Wednesday, and said that though his side played their best game of the competition till the 85th or 86th minute, they showed why they are not the champions of the League Shield in the final few minutes by conceding goals.
The Gaurs stayed on top throughout the regulation time scoring a goal on either side of half-time against the Islanders. Boris Singh opened the scoring for FC Goa as early as 16 minutes into the game. Captain Brandon Fernandes doubled their lead in the 56th minute, scoring a banger from outside the box.
In the dying seconds of regulation time, Mumbai City FC turned things around with Lallianzuala Chhangte reducing the deficit for his team. In injury time, Vikram Partap Singh got on the scoresheet to help the visitors draw level. Petr Kratky’s men completed their miraculous comeback with Chhangte doubling his tally right before the full-time whistle, completing a stunning comeback for his team and helping them take a goal advantage into the second leg on April 29.
FC Goa head coach Marquez believes they played one of their best games this season till the 86th minute before conceding three goals late in the game.
“My feeling is that we played maybe the best game in the competition till the 85th or 86th minute, and then we showed why we are not the champions of the Shield,” stated Marquez in the post-match press conference as quoted by ISL.
He added, “We conceded three goals today and this is the reason that we are not the champions of the Shield. We played a very good game tactically. They (the players) understood very good. Technically, the players played a very good game. Physically, because we played against a strong team, we were okay. The injury to (Mohammad) Yasir was a pity. But the most important part (what) we don’t have is mentality,” he continued.
Emphasizing his disappointment with his team’s mentality and character after the loss, he shared, “We can concede one goal, this is football. Mumbai City FC scored 2-1 in the 86th or 87th minute, the game has to finish 2-1. That is all. But if you concede the 2-2 and the 2-3, it means that the team does not have character. I told them and they know perfectly. With everyone, I am very angry and I am disappointed. But the summary is very easy. I cannot develop the character. You have it or you do not. You cannot train this.”
The Gaurs created nine goal-scoring chances while also attempting 12 shots. However, they ended up on the losing side despite a positive performance on the field. Marquez demanded his players pick themselves up and target for a comeback in the second leg.
“If I am a player today, I would be very angry (with) how Mumbai City FC celebrated the victory in our face. They have to know there are still 90 minutes. I think that if you show the correct character, let us see who will celebrate at the end of the game in Mumbai,” stated Marquez.
Marquez expressed satisfaction with the fans who did not give up on them and stuck with them till the very end.
He said, “The fans were fantastic today. The atmosphere was very, very good. Fantastic for the players to play in this atmosphere. We knew had a big team in front of us. In some moments, it was a small team, because we played very good in some minutes. We are sad.. maybe this is the reason we love football because of these crazy things.”
Brandon Fernandes, who was on the scoresheet for FC Goa, was taken off the pitch in the 85th minute. This was his third goal for the Gaurs in as many games, having also netted in the team’s playoff clash against Chennaiyin FC.
Justifying his decision to substitute the FC Goa captain, Marquez shared, “He could not press.”
He added, “If I see that Brandon is okay, I do not substitute him. But he was very, very tired. In fact, most of the substitutions, even Boris was completely dead.”
Yasir supplied the assist for Boris Singh’s opener but was substituted in the 33rd minute after picking up a knock. The 26-year-old has been a crucial figure for FC Goa this season since joining them in January, contributing two goals and three assists. Marquez revealed that the midfielder could be a doubt for the second-leg clash in Mumbai.
“I feel that Yasir cannot play more in the season because even if we qualify for the final, it is on May 4th. It’s my feeling because it is a muscle problem with the hamstring. Maybe it is nothing, I wish, but difficult that he can play both games,” he signed off.

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