After having a terrible start to the tournament, FC Goa kind of bounced back but not quite literally. Bouncing back won’t count when you don’t capitalise on your chances. As of now, FC Goa is in ninth place in the table with 15 points resulting from a 3-6-6 record, with only one win in their last ten games.
But do they deserve to be where they are right now? “We are a team which shouldn’t be at the position where we are right now”, said the head coach Derrick Pereira in the pre-match conference against Jamshedpur FC. In that same clash, the team wrapped up everything there needed to be said.
In that game, Ivan Gonzalez’s header in the 28th minute hit the crossbar. In the 63rd minute, another one hit the crossbar. Again in the 81st minute, Airam Cabrera’s powerful shot hit the crossbar. Jamshedpur FC eventually won the game by 1-0. The encounter explained everything that Derrick Pereira needed to explain. It was a perfect display of FC Goa’s tough luck especially considering how the goal was conceded.
Regarding stats, Gaurs average the most number of shots in a game (15.3). But luck hasn’t been on their side for most of the time. In total, FC Goa has hit the woodwork eight times which is the second-highest in the tournament. Almost every FC Goa match has been an example of how not sweeping the tiny margins cost a team.
As a result of multiple such tragedies, FC Goa has the worst xG differential in the league (-5.1). As per the Away End, before the Odisha FC game, they had accumulated the second most amount of xG in the league (22.1) – behind only Bengaluru FC (22.2). But they had scored only 17 goals (before the Odisha FC game) – injustice. They also accumulate the highest amount of xG per game (1.6). So they are ‘likely to score the most in a match’.
Out of 15 matches, the Gaurs have been outclassed by the opponents in terms of xG only for three times. One of them was against Odisha FC, where they just tipped up the Gaurs by 0.03 xG. But despite winning the xG game, the team hasn’t been able to convert them into actual results. With six draws and only three victories, the team didn’t do any justice to the chances they created. FC Goa has made the most number of chances in the league and per game. All these stats only result in being the eighth highest-scoring side in the league.
The defence hasn’t been any lucky. There have been instances where all the shots on target in a game went in. Against ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters in back to back games, the team faced four shots on target in total. And went on to concede a goal of each of them. Those goals include: Liston Colaco’s 181 kmph hit, Adrian Luna’s knuckleball hit, Jeakson’s header and Roy Krishna’s rocket which couldn’t be kept out by the defender on the line. Apart from the Jeakson one, none would have been saved in normal circumstances. Despite facing only four shots on target over two games, they managed to get just a single point. Tough luck kicks in moments like these.
However, in this edition, the Gaurs have conceded the second least amount of xG (13.8) – behind only Jamshedpur FC. But due to those tragedies at the back, the underlying defensive number got little to no respect. The goal conceding tally is at 23 (24 after the Odisha FC game) – resulting in the worst defensive xG differential in the league (9.2). They also concede the second least amount of xG over a game (1.0). But still, they are the fourth-highest conceding team in the league.
There have been instances where the Gaurs conceded a goal out of nowhere, and one might blame the luck for the defensive underperformance, but it’s not always about the luck. In the 2-1 defeat against SC East Bengal, both the goals they conceded came off their own miss-passes in the defensive third.
Despite doing a lot of work, the primary reason behind why FC Goa aren’t there where they deserve to be is the lack of luck. A lot of their shots go past the goal by a whisker, and sometimes they even manage to miss some of the most straightforward chances. The same could be said about the defence. The underlying numbers favour Derrick Pereira’s team, but the actual results do not. One might add the referee factor, but that has been the same for every team.
If one sits down to make the xG points table, FC Goa would surely be among the best teams in the league, might even be the contenders. But that isn’t the case in the table that matters. They are among the bottom teams in the actual points table. It’s fair to say that the finishing and a few aspects of defending have been inferior compared to previous times, but luck factor is also in need. Having better fortunes would have made the identity sit in a more satisfactory position than they are in right now. With only 5 games left and having played more games than the ones in the upper half of the table, the playoff surge now may look unlikely. However, the xG gods won’t forgive the Gaurs, that’s for sure!
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