The Gaurs will look to avenge the defeat against the Blues in the final of 2018-19 and start the season with a win.
It will be interesting to see if FC Goa can replicate their last season’s performance under new head Juan Ferrando, as they begin their Indian Super League (ISL) 2020-21 campaign against former champions Bengaluru FC on 22nd November at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda. On the other hand, the Blues will also look to start the season with a win and maintain their first match unbeaten record in the ISL since their entry in 2017.
It was a great last season for the Gaurs, as they managed to top the league table to become the first Indian club to qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage. However, the management shocked the fans when they sacked their head coach Sergio Lobera with a few matches left. Nevertheless, they managed to finish atop the league, but lost miserably to Chennaiyin FC in the playoffs. The blows continued for the Goan side, as their skipper Mandar Rao Dessai left them for Mumbai City FC, who was followed by other stars of the squad.
The management then roped in another Spaniard in Ferrando to replace Lobera. He has tried to build a team with a Spanish flavour with the signing of Ivan Gonzalez, Alberto Noguera, Jorge Ortiz, Igor Angulo and retained Edu Bedia from last season. With the results of friendlies which were played few days prior to start of the league, FC Goa look in a good shape, as they have managed to beat Jamshedpur and Chennaiyin but lost to Hyderabad with most of the reserve squad. With the squad and the recent performance, the Gaurs looks strong enough to compete for the title but only time will tell their fate.
The Southern side managed to grab only nine wins last season, five less than the previous one when they lifted the silverware. The last season, Bengaluru reached the playoffs by finishing third in the league phase. They also managed to edge past champions ATK in the first leg, but went down in the second and missed the chance to make it to the final for a consecutive second time.
Bengaluru saw the departure of Spaniards Albert Serran, Nili, Manuel Onwu, along with Brazilian Raphael Augusto and Jamaican Kevaughn Frater in the summer transfer window. However, they brought in three foreigners – Brazilian forward Cleiton Silva, Norwegian forward Kristian Opseth and Spanish defender Fran Gonzalez. Their coach Carles Cuadrat has managed to balance the squad with few other domestic players and it will be interesting to see if the Spaniard’s formula will work or not.
Newly-appointed FC Goa coach Ferrando will have a full squad at his disposal, as no one has suffered any injury in the pre-season and the Gaurs will be ready to roar with full strength.
On the other hand, Carles Cuadrat will also have a full squad available for selection against the Gaurs.
The two sides have faced each other seven times and the Blues have an advantage over the Gaurs, as they have recorded five wins and have lost only once with a single draw. They have also shared 21 goals between them, of which the Gaurs have found the net only seven times. The two sides met at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in the previous fixture and the Blues had come out on the winning end thanks to a brace from Sunil Chhetri.
Man to Watch
Edu Bedia (FC Goa)
The Spanish midfielder was not used much in the last season by the previous coach. However, Ferrando announced him as the skipper for the ongoing season and will thus be leading the team. Bedia, who scored just a goal and assisted twice last season was among the top five scorers and also in the top 10 assist-makers in the 2018-19 season.
The 31-year-old has the ability to lead the team and can be the influencer in the midfield. The creative midfielder will have to play an important role under the new coach, if the Gaurs want to start the season with a win against a tough opponent.
Kristian Opseth (Bengaluru FC)
The Norwegian forward who is the latest signing to fill in the big shoes of Miku, who proved to be a worthy addition to the goalscoring duties at the club. Opseth racked up six goals in 21 appearances in the A-League and did so in double digits in four of the six clubs that he has played for.
FC Goa (4-2-3-1): Nawaz (GK), Sanson, Aiban, Donachie, Seriton, Edu, Lenny, Redeem, Brandon, Ortiz, Igor.
Bengaluru FC (4-2-3-1): Gurpreet (GK), Bheke, Juanan, Pratik, Ajith, Dimas, Paartalu, Udanta, Chhetri, Cleiton, Opseth
Did You Know?
- FC Goa have won just once against Bengaluru in the history of the ISL.
- The former champions have made it to the top four three times out of three, while the Gaurs have made it to the playoffs five time out of six.
- Bengaluru hold the record for the highest percentage of away wins (43.3%) in the ISL.
The match between FC Goa and Bengaluru FC is set to be telecast live on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English), Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold 2 (Hindi), Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies (Malayalam), and Star Sports regional channels (in Bangla, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi). It will also be streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and Jio TV.