Both teams have a lot to gain if they win three points in a crunch Hero Indian Super League (ISL) encounter between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Thursday. The caveat for the Gaurs is that they will only still be in the playoff race come their Bengaluru FC game, if Odisha FC lose against Jamshedpur FC on Wednesday.

Even if Odisha FC drop all available points against Jamshedpur FC, beating Bengaluru FC will be no easy task for FC Goa. The Blues extended their winning streak in the Hero ISL to seven games last week after they ended Mumbai City FC’s 18-game unbeaten run in the Hero ISL this season.

Javi Hernandez is currently the top scorer for the club this season with six goals under his belt. The Spaniard’s sixth goal came against the Islanders last week. Behind him, Roy Krishna’s season tally stands at five goals. The Fijian will be available against FC Goa after serving his suspension in the last game.

“We want to finish third or fourth to try and have a home leg. Three of our players are on three yellow cards. My mind is made up about what the team is going to be like regardless of the result [of Odisha FC vs Jamshedpur FC],” said head coach Simon Grayson. “The most important thing is that whatever team we put out next, it has to try and win the game, keep the momentum going, extend the record and guarantee a home tie,” he added

Recent form is a big concern for FC Goa, with no wins in any of their last three Hero ISL games. They drew against Odisha FC before losing back-to-back games against Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC. Additionally, the Gaurs have not won an away game since October, and have drawn three and lost four of their last seven away games this season.

Noah Sadaoui was on the scoresheet last week for the third consecutive game for FC Goa. In the last five games, Sadaoui has scored four goals and pocketed three assists. Iker Guarrotxena is the club’s leading scorer this season with ten goals but hasn’t netted in the last three games.

“The last game at home was disappointing for everyone at the club. We need to learn from that and as things stand, we still have a chance,” said head coach Carlos Pena. “We have to do what we can and focus on what we have in our hands. If by tomorrow, we still have a chance to qualify, we have to fight for that till the last minute,” he added.

In 12 Hero ISL meetings between the two sides, Bengaluru FC have emerged victorious on six occasions while FC Goa have won thrice. In the reverse fixture earlier this season, the Blues beat the Gaurs 2-0.