1st of November, 2018. Sergio Lobera strode into the press conference room at the JRD Tata Sports Complex following the game to offer the FC Goa fans a sincere apology.
That night was one most FC Goa fans would not like to remember. The Gaurs had gone to Jamshedpur on the back of a three-game winning streak and a four-game unbeaten run to start the season. By the end of the ninety minutes, however, those stats had become a distant memory.
A 4-1 defeat at the hands of the men from the Steel City inflicted on them their first loss of the season and one of the worst nights under the tenure of Sergio Lobera.
Nearly 3 months on, the Gaurs have come back strong from that night, taking home important lessons. They now see themselves firmly in control of their fate, going into the game fourth on the table, but having played two games less than NorthEast United – the team above them.
No such thing as revenge
“There is no such thing as revenge, You will not give as good as you got,” reads the lyrics of Madonna’s unreleased song called ‘Revenge’.
In hindsight, the game is surely to be built up as a ‘revenge game’ by many in the media, but Sergio Lobera has a very different take on it.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, he stated, “We don’t go into the game looking for revenge. We go into the game for three points and nothing else. Jamshedpur, I feel is a direct rival to us for a place in the top four and if we win on Monday, that opens up a four point gap between us with a match in hand.
“These will be crucial three points for our aspirations of qualifying for the top four. We go into the game looking for three points and not revenge.”
The race for the top four spots is getting hotter by the day. NorthEast’s win over Chennaiyin and more importantly their performance on Saturday should be enough to show that the Highlanders are not going to be pushovers this season by any stretch of the imagination.
Jamshedpur don’t have the most sterling of records against the Gaurs. Goa did the double over them last season with the 3-0 win at Jamshedpur helping Goa secure a spot in the final four. They then went on to further inflict sorrow in their first season when they thrashed them 5-1 in the Quarter Final of the Super Cup.
The men from the Steel City must have felt a sense of justice when they finally trounced them earlier this year. However, much water has flown under the bridge since that fateful day and a new challenge awaits both sides when they take to the pitch at Fatorda on Saturday.
Stats and facts