Talking Point: Can Bengaluru FC produce another outright result against FC Goa?

Match 101 of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 will see Bengaluru FC take on FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium in the first match of Sunday’s double header. In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, what was also both sides’ opening match, they shared the points after a 2-2 draw. Since then, the Gaurs have presented a strong case for a top-four finish, while former champions Bengaluru have slipped down the pecking order and now find themselves in a difficult situation in regard to a place in the semis. Ahead of the game, let’s take a look at a few talking points that could determine the outcome.

The attacking unit’s improvement is a big boost for the Blues

Bengaluru registered their second win in their last 12 games when they beat favourites Mumbai City FC 4-2 in their last match. Sunil Chhetri and Cleiton Silva scored a brace each in what was an important match for the Blues. It was a complete performance by the former champions, with Udanta Singh, Xisco Hernandez, Edmund Lalrindika and even goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu bagging assists. FC Goa have kept just two clean sheets this season, and the Blues will hope to exploit any spaces in their opponent’s defensive third as they look for a second consecutive win to keep their slim hopes alive.

FC Goa need to address defensive concerns

With 29 goals this season, FC Goa are among the league’s highest goal-scorers. However, wins have eluded them more often than not due to their shaky defence. As mentioned earlier, the Gaurs have only two clean sheets this season. The side started off with a solid looking defensive line but recurring injuries have hampered their progress. Instability in their goalkeeping department has not helped them either. They started the season with Mohammad Nawaz before Naveen Kumar took over. Of late young goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh has been their regular custodian but he is yet to keep a clean sheet having played five matches and conceded nine goals.

Naushad Moosa has overseen Bengaluru improvement

Bengaluru let go of Carles Cuadrat in early January, and Naushad Moosa was made the interim head coach of the club. Although the Blues have not been getting outright wins more often than not, there has been a marked improvement in their performances under the Indian. The Blues have lost only three of nine matches under Moosa, drawing four and registering wins over SC East Bengal and Mumbai City. Bengaluru’s improvement means that the side are still in contention for a place in the top four, and a win over FC Goa can go a long way. Ahead of the game, Moosa will also be buoyed by the return of Dimas Delgado and Ashique Kuruniyan. 

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