Fighting spirit, character that we showed was most important: FC Goa’s Carlos Pena

Panaji (Goa) [India], January 23 (ANI): FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena said that the fighting spirit and character of his players helped them win all three points as the Gaurs beat Kerala Blasters FC 3-1 in the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Sunday.

“The fighting spirit and the character that we showed was the most important thing today in the game. Now the guys were really competitive. Also, we played very good football in some moments. We tried to create danger with our wings and in the first half we could do that,” Pena said in the post-match press conference. Unlike the reverse fixture, FC Goa started on the front foot and Iker Guarrotxena calmly slotted in a penalty at the 35th minute to hand the home side the lead.

A few minutes later, the lack of concentration from the KBFC defence was effectively utilised by Noah Sadaoui at the 43rd minute, giving FC Goa a two-goal cushion at the half time. Though the away team tried to get back in the game after Dimitrios Diamantakos’s goal at the 51st minute, Redeem Tlang’s goal at 69th minute, sealed the deal for the home team. Kerala Blasters FC continued to create chances, but the scoreline remained 3-1 at the final whistle.

With this win, FC Goa ended a four-match winless streak after collecting just two points in the last four matches. The Spaniard felt very happy for the win given the circumstances they were in for the last four weeks and said that his players deserved this. “I feel very happy because we came from a difficult moment. We came from a row of four games with no winning despite playing good games. Against Hyderabad FC, we deserved more, against NorthEast United FC, we could have won the game.

We were not getting the results we wanted but today maybe not playing our best game because we had problems with the ball. But winning the three points, I am happy for the players and staff and they deserved it,” he added. FC Goa jumped one spot above in the ISL table after the win and are currently at the fifth position with 23 points in the bag. FC Goa are going to play three out of five remaining games at the Fatorda Stadium.

Pena expressed that these three points would attract more fans in coming matches and that would fuel their playoff chances. “It was very important because some pessimists felt that FC Goa was going down, but I can say that was not true as this team was working very hard. Of course, we commit mistakes. We had bad days and we were not getting the result we wanted.

But the guys were working very hard and I hope this win is a point of inflection for us that can give us the necessary energy for the last step and we want the fans to come in more numbers and cheer us because they are very important for us. We are absolutely alive and ready to fight for everything and this team is going to give everything,” he concluded. 

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