FC Goa’s head coach Juan Ferrando has had a lot of worries at hand during the ongoing Durand Cup 2021 campaign. From losing Jorge Ortiz to injury early on in the competition to now another injury to standout performer Muhammed Nemil, Ferrando has had his work cut out. FC Goa are in the semi-finals of the tournament after their comprehensive 5-1 win over Delhi FC on Friday. Apart from the Goan outfit’s controlled football, the match stood out for the hard and irrational challenges that a frustrated Delhi FC threw at Goa’s players.
Barring the first 10 minutes or so, Delhi FC had no control over the game and once FC Goa went 2-0 up, frustration began to creep in the players of the Delhi outfit and they started throwing wild tackles - some of them were punished with a yellow card by the referee while some were let off.
In fact, at a point in the first half, Delhi FC players were, as a team, using shoulder blocks to stop FC Goa players from playing. In quick succession, three shoulder blocks from the front, and though all three of them were given as free kicks, the referee chose not to brandish a yellow for the fouls. Goa captain Edu Bedia even pointed out to the referee that three similar fouls have been made by Delhi FC.
Also, Delhi FC’s Suprodip Hazra was booked for a foul in the 44th minute, soon after which he hit Alberto Noguera in the face. Though the referee gave a free kick for the foul, another yellow card was not shown to Hazra, which would have meant Delhi going down to 10 men.
Ferrando admitted that wild tackles such as the ones in the quarter-finals scare him and it was important to protect the players from getting injured in these.
“Of course when we play in this tournament and also ISL, I am scared because you know, sometimes in football, there are these tackles and it’s necessary to protect the players. Also there is red card and yellow card rules and it’s necessary for the referees to take the right decision to protect the players," Ferrando told News18.com.
During the match, Nemil also got injured as he seemed to have pulled his muscle. He was treated on the pitch for a bit before being substituted. Nemil is the joint top scorer of the tournament, having scored four goals. He has been one of the top performers for the Gaurs but a day after the match, Ferrando was unable to confirm the extent of his injury.
“Today, the doctors and the physios are checking his injury. We will see, we have 4-5 days more to prepare for the semi-final. In this moment, it is difficult to talk about the injury as we are taking day-by-day and will check till the last moment," he said.