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Tryst in the tale as Joffre visits FC Goa

Tryst in the tale as Joffre visits FC Goa

14 Feb 2018 No comment 6 hits

Margao: Joffre Mateu Gonzalez was probably surprised how quickly he was recognised, and sought after, at the GMC Athletic Stadium in Bambolim.
The Spanish midfielder who spent two seasons with FC Goa and took them to the final of the Indian Super League in 2015 remains a hugely popular figure in this part of the world, and his popularity was there for all to see as he took time off to watch FC Goa train.

Within a minute, there were two fans – waiting for FC Goa’s current Spanish stars – who approached him for a selfie, and once he had obliged them, a stream of admirers followed.

Even within FC Goa, he remains much loved. Former players at the club exchanged high-fives; he was on back-slapping terms with the support staff and he hugged the masseur so tightly that he needed a couple of seconds to catch his breath.

“It feels good to be back in Goa. I have so many wonderful memories of this place. The fans, club, players, environment; I have enjoyed my time here,” Joffre told REPORTERS as he took time off at the training venue for an exclusive chat.

Joffre left the club last season, calling it a day. He had promised FC Goa — now dominated by Spaniards — that he would be back to watch them play at least one match. Curiously, he arrives here for Goa’s most crucial clash this season, and intriguingly against Chennaiyin FC, a club which ruined it all for the hosts in the now infamous 2015 final at the Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.

“This was not planned, believe me. This is just a coincidence. This is a decisive match and I hope we can celebrate,” said the former Barcelona midfielder.

Any mention of celebration against Chennaiyin FC would take you back to that 2015 final. When the match was tied 1-1 and just two minutes left on the clock, Joffre struck with a trademark freekick. The goal, not surprisingly, sparked wild celebrations across the state and a shirtless Joffre led the way, riding high on the shoulders of Rafael Coelho in an impromptu lap of honour. Then, with the encounter heading into added time, the unthinkable happened: Chennaiyin FC struck twice and snatched the title from right under Goa’s nose with a stunning 3-2 victory.

“Celebrating (before the final whistle) was probably not the biggest mistake. That moment everyone was celebrating. It wasn’t easy playing at home with all the emotions. It was logical that we disconnected a little bit. It’s something that happens in football.

“The 2015 final was something amazing. We could not win the trophy but I felt like a champion. Losing the final, of course, was disappointing but I sincerely believe what happened in the final cannot erase all that we did that year,” said Joffre, who incidentally was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match in the final.

On Thursday, as FC Goa take on the might of Chennaiyin FC, Joffre will be in the VVIP gallery. But should Goa score, don’t fault him, if he starts celebrating just as hard as that December 20 night in 2015.
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Source: Tryst in the tale as Joffre visits FC Goa

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