Bengaluru aim to extend purple patch against Hyderabad; Goa look to bounce back
There will be no easy pickings even if it's a Sunday, in the Reliance Foundation Development League (RFDL) as four evenly-matched teams go toe to toe at Nagoa and Benaulim grounds here.
In the first match of the day, FC Goa will take on Jamshedpur FC, looking to get back to winning ways and ending Jamshedpur's little unbeaten run. In the evening kickoff, in-form Bengaluru FC will look to extend their purple patch against Hyderabad FC who have to work on making it two wins on the bounce.
'Home' team Goa lost to Bengaluru FC in a hotly contested encounter, not being able to build on their opening-day win over Chennaiyin. The Gaurs are now placed fourth in the eight-team points table with three points from two games.
In Jamshedpur, they will find an opponent who like to play like them, keeping more of the ball and building from the back. For head coach Deggie Cardozo, the challenge will be to plug the gaps behind the defence and also disrupt Jamshedpur's passing play in the middle of the park. Goa have looked good in the final third with Jovial Das and Brison Fernandes looking sharp in that second half against Bengaluru. Danstan Fernandes, who was handed a start, also impressed and will push for a place again on Sunday.
Jamshedpur haven't lost a game yet, sitting third with six points from two outings. Coach Indranil Chakraborty will have to work on his team's execution of their style of play which seemed to go off the rails against Chennaiyin. The Red Miners were lucky to have come out with a point courtesy of a lasp-gasp equaliser by Lalruatmawia in second-half stoppage time.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru have got off to a perfect start to the inaugural RFDL, winning their first two games and looking in good shape overall. Under the experienced Naushad Moosa, the Blues have looked like a well-oiled machine and have caught teams napping in transition. They were dominant, especially in the first half, against Goa and showed defensive stability too in the second to brave an onslaught and net the winner riding Rahul Raju's strike. Raju and Bekey Oram have scored for Bengaluru in both their games and along with the brilliant Sivasakthi Narayanan, the trio look very good.
Coming to Hyderabad, they came back strongly from a first-round defeat with a fighting 2-1 win over Reliance Foundation Young Champs. Hyderabad, for all their efforts, were behind only to show character and bounce back. They were not at their best but got the job done riding on some moments of excellence from Abdul Rabeeh who was a treat to watch. The supporting cast of Mark Zothanpuia, C. Lalchungnunga and Bishnu Bordoloi were impressive too, particularly Bordoloi who not only got the winning goal but bombed the left channel with some authority. Hyderabad coach Shameel Chembakath will want his wards to improve further as they take on the mighty Bengaluru FC.