ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: Mumbai City coach Sergio Lobera aims to win over his former club FC Goa in semis

ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: Mumbai City coach Sergio Lobera aims to win over his former club FC Goa in semis- The Indian Super League is approaching its business end with the first semifinal clash between FC Goa and Mumbai City FC scheduled for Friday at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa. But with former Goa coach Sergio Lobera joining Mumbai City and many players following him to the club, it will be an interesting clash on Friday.

Last season, despite leading Goa to the League Winners’ Shield, Lobera was unceremoniously sacked by the club with the semifinals still to be played. In three seasons under Lobera, Goa had become a force to be reckoned with. The Spaniard had made Goa an attractive attacking team that pumped in goals for fun, netting 135 goals in 60 matches in the ISL.

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While he could not win the ISL title, he led the team to their first title in Super Cup. He was also responsible for shaping many Indian players, especially Brandon Fernandes, who has now become India’s best attacking midfielder.

ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: Mumbai City coach Sergio Lobera aims to win over his former club FC Goa in semis

But his records did not matter much as the former Barcelona youth coach left Goa in tears with loyal Gaur fans in a similar emotional situation. Goa’s loss turned out to be Mumbai’s gain.

Also Read:ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC Dream11 Prediction, Probable XI, Fantasy Playing Tips – FCG vs MCFC at 7.30 PM IST Friday, March 5 on Insidesport 

Mumbai City, backed by powerful City Group, snapped him up ahead of the season and Goan players including Hugo Boumous, Ahmed Jahouh, Mourtada Fall, and Mandar Rao Dessai followed him. That depleted Goa and made Mumbai a powerful unit. Now that Lobera has found success with Mumbai, it would be a difficult match for him and Goan fans, especially when the match will be played in Goa.

ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC Dream11 Prediction, Probable XI, Fantasy Playing Tips – FCG vs MCFC at 7.30 PM IST Friday, March 5 on Insidesport

However, Lobera has moved on. He doesn’t feel any emotional connection anymore. Rather, he believes the match will be difficult because of the players and his past history with Goa won’t make any difference.

“It is a special match but facing Goa won’t make any difference to me. I don’t feel any pressure. We are professionals so it won’t be difficult for me personally. But Goa are a good team and it would be a difficult match from that perspective. It has been amazing to work with people who understand football, and I am very happy with what my players have done,” Lobera said ahead of the match against Goa.

Tough task for Goa

As for Goa, they haven’t had the ideal season. They are in transition and had to rebuild the squad. But with just three losses and some crucial goals in the stoppage time, his team has managed to remain in title contention. But in two-legged semifinals, it could be a difficult task with aggregate coming into the picture.

Furthermore, Goa will be without defender Ivan Gonzalez and midfielder Alberto Noguera. Both of them are out of the first leg with suspension while Brandon Fernandes is sidelined with an injury. Apart from that, Ferrando’s side will be up against a tough Mumbai City whom Goa are yet to beat this season. But Ferrando said that missing some key players won’t be a problem.

“We have a good squad. So, it won’t be a problem. Obviously, I want to put my best team forward and with injuries and suspension, it’s not possible some times. But the match will be played over 180 minutes and we have to control our emotions to win the contest.

ISL 2020-21 Semi-Final: Mumbai City coach Sergio Lobera aims to win over his former club FC Goa in semis

As far as tactics go, it could be an exciting tactical battle with both coaches sharing a similar footballing philosophy and style, having coached FC Barcelona youth sides in the past. But Ferrando does not want to give much importance to their heritage.

“Yes, we do have similar styles. But it’s never Juan vs Sergio. It’s more important to have the right players to understand the style. They will play on the pitch. My job is to ensure they play the right way — pass the ball properly, be at the right position and all those.