PANAJI: FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena expressed his disappointment over his side not making it to the playoffs after Bengaluru FC registered a 3-1 win against the Gaurs in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, in Bengaluru, on Thursday.
Both teams entered the field with a win on their mind, but for different reasons. A win would have given FC Goa a playoff spot, while a victory would help Bengaluru FC seal a place in the top four.
And it was the home team who got the win and sealed a top-four spot, which will allow them to use the home advantage in the one-legged playoff fixture. A loss for FC Goa means that Odisha FC, with 30 points in their bag, qualified for the ISL playoffs for the first time.
It was a tale of two headers, which decided the first half of the match. Sivasakthi Narayanan scored his first header in the ISL which was later cut out by Iker Guarrotxena’s thumping header. With the Gaurs chasing for a win in the second half, they pushed more men forward only to concede goals in quick succession.
A calm tap-in from Narayanan and a neat top-corner finish by Pablo Perez broke FC Goa’s hearts as the match ended 3-1 in favour of Blues. Pena reflected on the game and thought that they shouldn’t have conceded those second-half goals.
“The first half was what we expected.
They are very strong set pieces. They are very strong in transitions. We conceded the goal very early. It was tough but we came back. I think we started playing good and creating chances, playing in the opponent’s half and in the second half we knew what could happen. If we stayed compact and didn’t concede, we would have our options, till the last minute or so,” Pena said in the post-match press conference.
With this win, Bengaluru FC have extended their winning streak to eight games and sealed a top-four finish this season. Meanwhile, FC Goa will complete this season in the seventh position with 27 points. The Gaurs are coming after a forgettable season, where they finished in the ninth position with just 19 points. The Spaniard congratulated the opponents for the way they played in the second half of the season and admitted he would go and evaluate their performance this season and prepare the team for the Super Cup.
“Congratulations to Bengaluru FC, because in the second part of the season, they have played amazingly.
They got some amazing results. It’s over for us, so it’s time to analyse. It has not been an easy season for us. I said it many times that we came from a season where FC Goa finished in the ninth position. But it is not a reason to be happy (finishing in seventh position), because we couldn’t reach the objective of being in the playoffs. It was a relative season. We are disappointed. We will analyse the system, the mistakes we have made, the good things that we have done and move on to the next tournament,” he concluded.