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FC Goa, Pune City hunt for first points



GOA: FC Goa chief coach Zico is confident that his team can script a turnaround as they play their first home match of the season against FC Pune City in the Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on Saturday.

FC Goa were handed a rare defeat by NorthEast United FC in their opening clash and coach Zico now needs to inspire his squad to register the first win of the season. FC Goa looked good in patches against NorthEast United FC. They did not score against their rivals but the Brazilian legend remains confident in his team’s ability to fight back.

“I think we played well. We tried our best, we fought but we couldn’t overcome them. This is just the beginning of the league. The first year too we started the league with a defeat but later we overcame it. We have to keep going to work on that,” said Zico.

NorthEast United’s opening goal came through goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani’s mistake and the second goal also asked questions about the defence. Zico, however, was unperturbed and is set to continue with his first choice goalkeeper.

“He has a lot of experience with us from the last two years. We have been playing together and when we lose, everyone loses. It is not the fault of one person,” he said.

It is not yet clear if Zico will alter his formation or even introduce new players in the starting eleven. With several players nursing injuries, though, it is unlikely that he will be left with many choices. Players like Gregory Arnolin, Luciano Sobrosa, Robin Singh, Denzil Franco and Subhashish Roy Chowdhury are all nursing injuries and remain unavailable for the next clash.

FC Pune City have no such injury concerns and assistant coach Miguel remains confident that they will open their account soon.

“You have to understand that a majority of the players are new. It’s not easy to build a team like that. We need to play a few more games and the team will improve,” said Miguel.

Chief coach Antonio Habas remains suspended for FC Pune City’s first four matches.

FC Pune City’s plans for the season went haywire after marquee Eidur Gudjohnsen picked up an injury during pre-season and was ruled out of the ISL. He has now been replaced by former Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko who will be available for selection.

“Eidur’s injury impacted us. He is a leader, a big player and now we have another marquee. He is doing his role. He will play the next game and try to make up for Eidur’s absence,” said Miguel.

FC Pune City lost their opening clash against Mumbai City FC in the Maharashtra Derby.