FC Goa start off their campaign in the 2021/22 season of the Hero Indian Super League against last season’s champions and rivals Mumbai City FC. The game is set to give the Gaurs a chance at reclaiming the bragging rights after the Gaurs crashed out in sudden death against Mumbai last season in the semis.
Heading into his second season as the head coach of the Gaurs, Juan Ferrando will rely on the team’s sense of familiarity to provide FC Goa with the ideal start as the core of the side from last season intact.
The Gaurs have had a fruitful pre-season. After having started training in August, FC Goa went on to win the Durand Cup in preparation for the ISL. The tournament saw a number of youngsters come forth to the occasion, giving the Head Coach some much needed insight into his personnel.
For Mumbai, the Islanders will be under the stewardship of Des Buckingham. The team sees 11 new faces in the squad with 4 new foreign arrivals. Thus, it will be interesting to see how quickly they get together under the new schemes of the new head coach.
As the two big forces clash against each other on Monday, here are 10 things to know ahead of the game:
This season’s FC Goa squad features three players promoted from the Dev Team viz. Papuia, Christy Davis and Hrithik Tiwari. In total, there are 7 players in the team to have come through the Dev Team set up – the others being Princeton Rebello, Saviour Gama, Leander D’Cunha and Flan Gomes.
FC Goa’s 7-0 victory over Mumbai in 2015 till date remains the record for the biggest margin of victory in an ISL game. Dudu Omagbemi and Semboi Haokip scored hat-tricks for the Gaurs, the only instance in the ISL where two people from the same team have scored hat tricks.
FC Goa’s 9 goals against Mumbai City FC over the two legs during the 2019/20 season is the highest the Gaurs have scored against a side over two legs of the league stage in any ISL season.
FC Goa finished last season on a 15-game unbeaten run – a Hero ISL record. A point in Monday’s game against Mumbai will see them further extend their run. This run of results has seen Juan Ferrando lead the Gaurs to 5 wins and 10 draws en route to the unbeaten record.
If Igor Angulo and Mohammad Nawaz make their debut for the Islanders on Monday. It will take the number of players to have played for both the sides in the ISL to 17. The others on the list are Hugo Boumous, Mandar Rao Dessai, Amey Ranawade, Ahmed Jahouh, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Pronay Halder, Keenan Almeida, Pratesh Shirodkar, Gabriel Fernandes, Rowilson Rodrigues, Raju Gaekwad, Sanjay Balmuchu, Mourtada Fall and Sahil Tavora.
Brandon Fernandes heads into the season as the Indian with the highest number of assists in ISL history (second-highest overall) with 18. The second Indian name on the list is that of Jerry Mawihmingthanga, who has 14 to his name.
This will be the 19th time the two teams squad off against each other. Of the previous 18 meetings, Goa have come out the winners of 7 occasions with Mumbai tasting victory 6 times.
Seriton Fernandes leads the Gaurs in appearances in the Indian Super League with the right-back set to make his 79th appearance in an FC Goa shirt. Edu Bedia and Brandon Ferandnes follow close behind with 71 and 62 appearances respectively.
When FC Goa take to the field on Monday for the season-opener against Mumbai, it would have been 338 days since they had tasted defeat in the Indian Super League. That came in a 2-1 loss to Chennai on December 19, 2020.
Mumbai’s win over FC Goa in their first meeting from last season was the Islanders’ only win over the Gaurs in a league fixture in their last 8 encounters and the only one in the last 1394 days. It came in a 4-3 triumph over the Gaurs on January 28, 2018. FC Goa had done the double over Mumbai in both the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons.