Both the sides have 31 points from 16 matches and will battle it out to take sole control of top spot.
The top spot will be up for grabs when Bengaluru FC take on FC Goa at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Both the teams will try not to concede any ground to the other, despite the pair having qualified for the playoffs. Contrasting form after the break defines both teams. FC Goa have played five matches getting three wins and drawing two and they are also yet to concede after the Asian Cup interval.
Bengaluru, on the other hand, have only four points from the five matches during this span, with a lone win against NorthEast United. The Blues will be looking to end their recent slump and also prevent Goa from recording another clean-sheet.
Carles Cuadrat (Bengaluru FC)
Bengaluru had sealed a playoff spot, after Jamshedpur lost at home to FC Pune City. Their tactician was understandably delighted. “The target of the season is done. We are very happy to be in the playoffs again. We will see what is going to happen in the two games we have to play before the playoffs. Let’s see which is our opponent in the playoffs and what we have do to try and reach the final,” he stated.
The playoffs spot was made certain despite the Blues losing their last two games. We are football professionals. We have been working in that for a very long time. If you see in the last few games, we have not been starting some players who for me are essential like Sunil (Chhetri), Udanta (Singh), Dimas (Delgado), Erik (Paartalu). When you change things, certain things happen,” Cuadrat explained.
He also talked about the league’s format. “You want to become champion, that is the target. We have Chhetri who has been champion in the regular season two years ago with Mumbai and last year with Bengaluru. But, in his CV, there is nothing about being champion of the Super League. So, we have to be smart. We will try our best to reach and win the final on 17th March,” the Spaniard concluded.
Sergio Lobera (FC Goa)
Goa’s defensive imporvement has been a welcome positive for Sergio Lobera. “It is true that we have improved defensively. It was one of the goals before the season started and I am happy for that. The team as a whole has improved defensively. I am happy with the way we are going defensively,” the Spaniard explained.
Lenny Rodrigues returns to face his former side. Lobera was full of praise for him the midfielder. “Lenny is a player who I like a lot. He is a player every coach would like to have in their squad. When I first met him he was in Bengaluru. I saw him, he had the qualities to play in our team, qualities which fit our style,” the head coach concluded.
- Five players to have missed out from India’s probables list for the AFC U-23 Championship 2020 Qualifiers
Erik Paartalu is likely to miss the game with an injury. Albert Serran is suspended for the Blues.
Lobera has a fully fit squad at his disposal.
Sandhu, Nishu, Juanan, Bheke, Khabra, Delgado, Luisma, Udanta, Miku, Xisco, Chhetri.
Naveen, Seriton, Pena, Fall, Mandar, Lenny, Jahouh, Bedia, Brandon, Jackichand, Corominas.
Did You Know?
- FC Goa will be aiming for a record sixth consecutive clean-sheet against Bengaluru.
- Ferran Corominas leads the race for the Golden Boot with 14 goals in 15 matches.
- Gurpreet Singh Sandhu leads the league in saves. The Bengaluru shot-stopper has made 50 saves this season.
The match will take place on Thursday at 7:30 pm at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru. On television, the match will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network. Meanwhile, it will also be streamed on Hotstar and Jio TV.