FC Goa are relishing at the prospect of deciding on the final at home as they play the second leg of semifinal against Atletico de Kolkata in Goa by virtue of finishing second in the Hero Indian Super League football tournament.
“It’s important that we stay here and don’t need to travel again and decide the place for final at home. The two teams deserved to be at this position,” FC Goa head coach Zico told reporters after their 1-1 draw against ATK that gave them a second-place finish behind Chennaiyin FC.
However the Brazilian legend’s only concern is the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan’s injury-prone artificial surface.
“My only regret is to play on this turf. It’s not suitable to play football. It’s an important game and we have to play on a pitch like this.”
A win would have given them the top place in the standings.
“We are not at all disappointed, we are in the semis after all. I hope we get the first place in the all important final. The first position is worth only in the final.”
Needing a draw to make the last-four, ATK had luck on their side as they rode on a dubious penalty decision by Baldomero Toledo to get the all-important equaliser.
The Brazilian legend chose to ignore the incident but was critical about the red card decision to Bruno Pinheiro for his tackle from behind.
“I did not see, I have to look and then comment. The referee is there to give decisions, I don’t have a say in that. I cannot comment,” the 61-year-old said on the refereeing error.
“It’s very weird that he gave red card to Bruno. If the rules are followed properly then why Fikru did not get any card despite controlling the ball with both the hands. He just did not see anything.
“But it’s part of the game. I hope it won’t reflect in our performance.”
Incidentally, FC Goa, having already ensured a berth in the semis, fielded a second-string side as they had as many as nine changes to their XI, and Zico said they have enough bench strength to replace the influential central defender.
“In football we just can’t count 11 players, we have to take into account everything, the red cards, injuries etc. I hope to replace him in the best possible way,” he said.