Despite injuries and cards, Ferrando says his team will look to continue improving
Last year’s League Winner FC Goa will face newly crowned champion Mumbai City FC in the first semifinal of the 2020-21 Indian Super League at the Fatorda Stadium.
The first-leg clash on Friday will pit MCFC coach Sergio Lobera against his former employer, yet again. The Islanders on Sunday became the second team to lift the ISL Shield after edging out ATK Mohun Bagan on head-to-head record.
Meanwhile, few gave the Gaurs a chance to make the last-four after they had just eight points in their opening seven games. But from there, Juan Ferrando’s side went 13 matches unbeaten and sealed a spot in the top-four for the sixth time in seven editions.
“We started the season with uneven results but have entered the playoffs now. The next match will be a challenge because of injuries and cards, but I see it as another opportunity to continue improving,” Ferrando said.
Mumbai was one of the favourites this time. The team, majorly owned by City Football Group, claimed its first ever title with some eye-catching football.
“I think we deserved to win the shield, and hopefully, we can achieve another trophy. Facing Goa won’t make any difference for me. Whichever team we face, we have to win the semifinal. It will be a tough game,” claimed Lobera.
A penalty from Adam le Fondre gave MCFC a 1-0 win when the two sides met for the first time this season, while Ishan Pandita’s late equaliser rescued a point for FCG in the reverse fixture.
Goa will be without four players — Brandon Fernandes and Seriton Fernandes (injuries), Alberto Noguera and Ivan Gonzalez (suspensions) — for the first leg. Amey Ranawade is out for Mumbai after picking up his fourth booking, while Boumous will return after serving a four-game suspension.