FC Goa played out a 1-1 draw with NorthEast United FC in the 2021-22 Indian Super League (ISL) at the Athletic Stadium, here on Friday after some key players of FC Goa became unavailable due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Highlanders got an early goal when Hernan Santana scored from a freekick in the second minute but the Gaurs' equalised in the 39th minute when Airan Cabrera shot at goal.
Although FC Goa only managed to get one point from the game, coach Derrick Pereira was proud of his team. "I am disappointed with yesterday's result, but I am very happy with the hard work of our players. The professionalism displayed by the players in difficult situations was commendable. It is difficult to demonstrate professionalism in adverse conditions." said Pereira after the match referring to the breach in FC Goa's bio-bubble.
"This is a challenging phase in my career as head coach,"he added.
Pereira took charge of FC Goa after Juan Ferrando stepped down in December to join ATK Mohun Bagana. Under his guidance, FC Goa lost for the second time in a row, but tied the third.
Covid-19 disrupted in FC Goa's plans
"Before our last practice session, two players learned that they tested positive for covid-19. So the players who lived with them also had to go into segregation. Edu Bedia and Ivan Gonzalez also tested positive while leaving the hotel for the match. Those moments were really tough for us," said Pereira.
So when we got to the stadium we had to make a new list of players for the match. Until the last minute, we were unaware of who would play in the eleven-member team. Players who had not trained for a week had to be included in the squad, "said Pereira, referring to the situation before the match against Northeast.
But Pereira was proud of his players who bravely showed up within a moment's notice. "We were proud of the players who bravely took to the field on Friday night," he said.
The former league winners sit eight on the points table with 13 points from 11 games. With the second half of the campaign ahead, FC Goa can still manage to reach the playoffs if they can turn their fortunes around.