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Familiar foes FC Goa, Mumbai City face off in playoff curtain-raiser

Familiar foes FC Goa, Mumbai City face off in playoff curtain-raiser
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Familiar foes FC Goa, Mumbai City face off in playoff curtain-raiser

Highlights

Margao: One of the most consistent teams in the history of the tournament, FC Goa will look to take a step closer to their maiden ISL title when they f...

Margao: One of the most consistent teams in the history of the tournament, FC Goa will look to take a step closer to their maiden ISL title when they face table-toppers Mumbai City in the first leg of their semifinal fixture here on Friday.

Goa have secured playoff qualification a record six times but they could never manage to lift the ISL trophy, having lost the finals on two occasions.

Come Friday, the Gaurs will look to put it past League Shield winners Mumbai City FC to inch closer to the dream of lifting their first-ever trophy. Having qualified for the playoffs for the fourth-straight time, Goa are only behind Mumbai in terms of goals scored, alongside NorthEast United. They have form backing them too, having been unbeaten in 13 games now -- a feat no other side has managed in Hero ISL history.

Facing Mumbai will not be an easy task but coach Juan Ferrando hopes his players stick to his philosophy as they aim to go all the way. "If we enjoy the game, we will have success," he said.

"Sometimes there is pressure because everybody wants to win but for me, it's important our players to want to play (our way). I am scared when my team is not playing football (our way) because it's difficult to help the team. But all our players want to participate and stick to our style."

However, they will have their task cut out with Ivan Gonzalez and Alberto Noguera missing out due to suspensions. While Goa top the charts for most possession (58 per cent), Mumbai (57 per cent) are not too far behind. Dominating possession has worked for Lobera's side, who have netted a whopping 35 goals.

During the last meeting between the two sides, Ferrando had stated that the pressure was on Mumbai to win the League Winners Shield. And having achieved that target, Lobera will aim to prove a lot more to his former employers.

"I love when others speak about Mumbai City as a favourite team since they are thinking we are better than them," he said.

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