The Gaurs will look to get back into the top four with a win.

Bengaluru FC have almost sealed the spot in the playoffs with their last win over Chennaiyin FC but their opponents for Friday’s Hero Indian Super League clash – FC Goa still have got all to do if they want to join the league leaders in the top four.

Sergio Lobera’s side are currently fifth in the league standings with 20 points, just three less than third-placed Chennaiyin FC. The Goan side, however, have a game in hand. A win tomorrow here at Sree Kanteerava Stadium could see FC Goa come back in the knock out contention strongly, but that is easier said than done when you are up against Bengaluru at home.

Albert Roca’s blues are sitting comfortably at the top of points table with a five-point lead over their nearest rivals FC Pune City. Bengaluru FC have won four consecutive games in the ISL. The home side have been in scintillating form since going down unceremoniously to Delhi Dynamos last month. 

Talking about tomorrow clash at the pre-match press conference, FC Goa’s assistant coach Derrick Pereira emphasized that his team is focussed on the game at hand. “we would be focussing on the games that we have to play. We don’t want to think ahead at this moment,” he said.

Goa’s campaign has received set back with unfavourable results in last two outing, losing to Mumbai City and later a draw with NorthEast United. FC Goa has been troubled by their defence but Pereira believes that’s is a part of how they play, “I think we play as a team and we follow a certain idea. We’ll stick to that and won’t change on those ideas.”

FC Goa can take a heart ahead of the crucial game having defeated Bengaluru in a seven-goal thriller when the two teams squared off earlier in the season in Goa. And Bengaluru FC would want to set that record straight when they go out on the field. 

“In that game, we had our chances we didn’t take them. But we knew we were playing against a really good team. Tomorrow we will be playing against a team which I think will be in the top four. They are a good team and they have good players,” Bengaluru FC head coach Albert Roca said.

The Spanish tactician also hinted that he may rest some of his key players for the game given the tight schedule he has got. “We have also got an AFC game coming up. So we may make some changes.” 

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Bengaluru FC 0 – 1 FC Goa (0 draws)

Key Players

Erik Paartalu (Bengaluru FC)

The Australian has been the anchorman of the Bengaluru midfield. Strong and pacey, Paartalu poses a threat every time he drives forward, while also tracking back to break down opponent attacks. He uses his height to good effect while getting on the end of set-pieces and has three goals and a couple of assists to his name. The 31-year-old will look to stabilize the midfield once more against their free-scoring opponents.

Manuel Lanzarote (FC Goa)

The Spaniard has been deadly in the attacking line for the Gaurs. He has surged forward often, taking on the defence and scoring, while also picking out intelligent and precise passes all over the park. The 34-year-old has eight goals and five assists to his name already and is one who can influence the whole course of a game with his pace and trickery. Lanzarote will once more look to be influential for his side and help them pick up a crucial away win.

Probable Lineups

Bengaluru FC

Albert Roca will probably go for a 4-1-4-1 formation, which relies heavily on their midfield and flanks for proper service to the striker.

Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu

Defenders: Harmanjot Khabra, John Johnson, Juanan, Subhasish Bose

Midfielders: Lenny Rodrigues, Edu Garcia, Erik Paartalu, Sunil Chhetri, Udanta Singh

Forward: Miku 

Bengaluru’s gaffer on their objectives for the match: “First of all, we have to ensure our position in the playoffs, which was always our first goal. Tomorrow, we all play against a team who I think will also be in the top four because of the way they are playing and the quality of their players. It is a good test, but we will first have to ensure three points.”

FC Goa

Sergio Lobera will probably stick to his 4-2-3-1 formation, which ensures their formidable attack receives good service from the midfield.

Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani

Defenders: Narayan Das, Mohamed Ali, Sergio Juste, Seriton Fernandes

Midfielders: Edu Bedia, Manuel Arana, Brandon Fernandes, Mandar Rao Dessai, Manuel Lanzarote

Forward: Ferran Corominas 

Goa’s assistant coach Derrick Pereira on their approach to the game: “I think we play as a team and follow certain ideas and philosophies. We will stick to that. We play attacking football, which is possession-based, and we get punished at times when we make mistakes. This has been the story of our season. But we will not change our ideas. We will play the way we play.”

Key Stats

  • Bengaluru are the only team to have not drawn any match yet
  • Goa are yet to keep a clean sheet this season
  • The Blues (28) and the Gaurs (29) are the second-highest and highest scorers, respectively, in the league so far
  • Bengaluru have the best goal-difference (13), while Goa have conceded the second-highest number of goals (23)

Last Encounter

FC Goa 4 – 3 Bengaluru FC (30th November 2017 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa)

Form Guide

Bengaluru FC: W W W W L

FC Goa: D L W W L