“You look at where you’re going and where you are and it never makes much sense, but then you look back at where you’ve been and a pattern seems to emerge. And if you project forward from that pattern, then sometimes you can come up with something.” Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values.
Goans love football. Enough to say that out of the 100 greatest moments in the life of a Goan, you might be safe to say that 20 were associated with football. You actually might be underestimating that number.
At the pinnacle of their embodiment of that love stands FC Goa. The Gaurs in six years, have transformed themselves into more than just a football club. The club stands tall as a belief, an idea of pride and of hope. Delivering joy in the best way they can, on the football pitch.
Heading into the season, that hope had metamorphosed into expectations. And there were fair reasons for the same. After having reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons (reaching the final last season thanks to some impressive performances, especially in the opposing half), the Gaurs ensued to grab their first piece of silverware with a triumph in the Super Cup in 2019. The test to recreate the magic of the previous two seasons for the Gaurs began with the very first game. With three of their stalwarts (Edu Bedia, Hugo Boumous and Ahmed Jahouh) missing in action for the opener, the onus fell on the rest of the squad to up their game.
And they did so magnificently. The likes of Manvir Singh and new-signing Seiminlen Doungel stepped up to the plate and delivered a thumping 3-0 win over Chennaiyin on their home turf.
The next two games, meanwhile, brought to light a different aspect of the Gaur fortitude. Still hamstrung by unavailability, they mustered up two gritty performances to stay unbeaten.
Coro stepped up to the plate against Bengaluru (thanks to a 93rd minute penalty), bagging himself a penalty and then dispatching it to earn the Gaurs a draw.
A few days later, Goa would need another moment of inspiration. This time, up against NorthEast in Guwahati, the defending Super Cup champions faced a severe test of their character. They squandered a first-half lead. Then went down to 10 men before scripting the last line of the game.