Talking Point: Will past record give FC Goa heart against Kerala Blasters?

Two teams without a win this season meet at the Fatorda Stadium in Sunday’s second game of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 when FC Goa face off against Kerala Blasters FC. While the odds are stacked against Kerala, whose record against FC Goa is underwhelming, the Gaurs are enduring a rough patch of their own, having been unable to secure a win this season. Ahead of the encounter, let’s take a look at some of the factors that could influence the outcome in an important way.

Goa’s worst start to a Hero ISL season since 2017-18

FC Goa go into the game against Kerala Blasters FC with their worst start to a season in the Hero ISL since 2017-18. The Gaurs are yet to win a match after playing three games, but with a strong head-to-head record against Kerala (eight wins and three losses), they will feel a little better about their chances. In addition to their winless run, Goa have also scored only three goals so far which is also their lowest since 2017-18. They have taken the least shots on target (10) but with 30 goals in 12 matches against Kerala, the Gaurs will hope to end their underwhelming run.

The Gaurs need to improve their defending

One of the biggest issues for the Gaurs currently is their woeful defence. They have conceded four goals so far and all of them have been via set-pieces. These include two penalties against Mumbai City FC and NorthEast United FC, and the two goals they gave away against Bengaluru FC were from throw-ins. Under pressure, Juan Ferrando will need to look back for inspiration, given that with five wins and one draw, Goa are on a six-match unbeaten streak against Kerala and this should give them some heart ahead of the encounter.

Kerala’s woes in front of goal

Kerala worked hard to secure a goalless draw against Chennaiyin FC in their last game, but what let them down was their lack of creativity and finishing in their opponent’s final third. Of Kerala’s 23 shots so far, only three of them have been on target. Meanwhile, they have scored just two goals this season and both have come from set-pieces. As a matter of fact, Kibu Vicuna’s men have had just 31 touches in the opposition box, second lowest for a team this season. Their main forward Gary Hooper has managed three shots in three matches and his only shot on target was the penalty against NorthEast United. This shows their woes in the final third of the pitch.

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