In a surprising turn of events, Indian Super League (ISL) side FC Goa decided to part ways with head coach, Sergio Lobera, last evening, with the league stage entering the decisive phase.
The club has confirmed that they have replaced the outgoing manager with Derrick Pereira, who coaches FC Goa's reserve side, will take charge of the team in an interim capacity till the end of the season. Lobera's assistant Jesus Tato will also depart the club, along with the entirety of the former Barcelona youth coach's support staff.
Lobera took over as FC Goa manager in 2017, leading the club to the playoffs in his first season. The club reached the 2018-19 ISL final, which they lost narrowly to the eventual champion Bengaluru FC. They did, however, finish that season by winning the Super Cup.
The decision to terminate Lobera's contract comes as a huge surprise, given that the Spaniard had managed to lead the club to the top of the table with just three rounds left in the league stage.
"The decision has been taken to ensure that the team's campaign in the ISL is not derailed. The management was worried about the direction in which the team was headed. There were plenty of internal issues which were distracting the team from its goal of finishing on top and winning the ISL trophy," a source who tracked the development told The Times of India on Friday.
According to the same source, tensions within the dressing room were simmering for a while and Lobera had the axe hanging on his head for over a month. The club management finally decided to make the decision to let him go after the win against Odisha, a game that saw Goa concede two goals despite taking a 3-0 lead at the breather.