After an indifferent start, ATK game gives FC Goa a chance to change the narrative

posted in Specials by souvik on 13th December 2019

posted in Specials

by souvik

on 13th December 2019

After an indifferent start, ATK game gives FC Goa a chance to change the narrative

For two seasons, FC Goa has been a legitimate title-contending force garlanded by an amalgamation of individuals with technical prowess and tactical know-how. Within the system, individuals have bloomed to forge a kind of gameplay many thought was not possible to be implemented on the field in India. 

Just ask the rest of the league. They are not invulnerable and yet there is no sense of illusion to the kind of damage this squad can inflict on their opponent. It would be hysteria to question the legality of their legitimacy.

Not at their best, and still third on the table. You don’t have to fall for any fallacy. Sometimes the numbers speak for themselves.

And yet on Saturday night when they take on the quickly-impressing ATK, they have a chance to change the narrative of their season.   

Narrative can be an insatiable monster. And the details that keep them fed are excruciatingly detailed and ever-changing. A look at FC Goa’s season so far reveals that all hasn’t been plain sailing – relatively small but gusty winds have played a big role in making a mark on the grand course. 

The Gaurs can surely start sending signals to the masses with a strong December. That already begun with a hard-earned win away to Hyderabad. And now lies ahead the challenge of the high-flying ATK. 

Under Antonio Habas, the team from the City of Joy has brought plenty of that to its faithful. Heading into the game on top of the table at the time of writing, their expansive play this season just dabs another layer of paint to the context. 

It feels like a poignant moment in the season. 

Setting a tone at the juncture of the season might prove vital for Sergio Loera and his men. 

“This is an important game, but more than that it’s about us finding our rhythm,” acknowledged Ahmed Jahouh. “We have some crucial fixtures this month against some really good teams. We need to be totally focussed. And if we don’t ATK is a side that will punish you. So, we need to shape up, refocus, and take all the learning from whatever didn’t go right in the earlier games.”

“That’s a part of growing up,” insists midfield mainstay Edu Bedia. “How you respond when not everything goes your way. You really can’t imagine having a tougher opponent than ATK at the moment. They are winning and look to have found their comfort zone. But I believe in our guys. If we play to our abilities, there’s nobody we can’t beat and nowhere we can’t get all three points”

There surely are practical and tangible implications to every win or a loss in the Indian Super League. However, the entire takeaway can’t or shouldn’t be determined by the result of the game alone. Having proved themselves time and again, the final score on Saturday night might just prove to be foolhardy.

With two teams at the top of the table fighting for honour and glory, it might just come down to brilliance – whether individual or collective is still to be known. For the Gaurs, it has been a case of both with individual talent aggravating and forming the fulcrum of an elaborate yet effective system.

There is an overarching importance on the kind of football that FC Goa play. It is intricate, detailed, deliberate and one that produces the results more often than not. And getting back there should be a point of emphasis for the Gaurs. Concentrating on the ‘how’ has time and again paid dividends for Sergio Lobera’s men. The ‘what’ of the process has always followed – most of the time with much oomph. 

December doesn’t just offer challenges, but also a significant opportunity to change the narrative. And it all starts here at Fatorda on Saturday night when ATK comes to town.