Match 101 Preview: FC Goa eye win against Bengaluru to put an end to the Blues’ semi-final hopes

Bengaluru FC must win their clash against FC Goa in Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21 at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday to keep their semi-final hopes alive. The Blues put on a spirited display against Mumbai City FC and beat them in their last outing. They will be hoping for a similar result against the Gaurs in their bid to finish in the top four.

Hero ISL 2020-21: Click here to predict where your favourite team will finish this season.

The Blues are ahead in the head-to-head between the teams having won five times, lost once and drawn twice, including the reverse fixture against FC Goa earlier in the campaign which ended 2-2.  They will be eager to extend their strong record against Goa with another win on Sunday and go within two points of the Gaurs.

Unbeaten in six matches against Goa, Bengaluru will fancy their chances and will go in with a lot of confidence having beaten Mumbai City in their last match. Strong from set-pieces, the Blues have netted 12 times from such situations this season and against a Goa side that has conceded more goals (15) than any other team in the league from set-pieces, they stand a good chance.

Bengaluru’s frontmen Cleiton Silva and Sunil Chhetri will also be raring to return to the pitch after netting braces in their last game. Both Cleiton and Chhetri have scored seven times for the Blues in the ongoing campaign and will be their biggest threats against Goa.

"I'm not using the do-or-die term with the players. I think it's more pressure on FC Goa. For me, it's going to be a normal game, the way we played against Mumbai City. We have to see how they approach the game and work on our counters. It's important that I don't put much pressure on the players no matter what happens. They just have to go out and enjoy themselves,” Bengaluru interim head coach Naushad Moosa said ahead of the game.

The Gaurs, meanwhile, can get to within touching distance of the semis with a win against the Blues. They will be keen to avoid playing out another draw having shared the spoils nine times this season and will be hoping to carry forward their winning momentum having gotten the better of Odisha FC in their last game.

A team that tends to grow into games after falling a goal behind, Goa have won 12 points after conceding the first goal and love finding the back of the net in the second half with 17 of their 29 goals so far coming after the restart. A sight to behold when in full flow, they have scored 21 times from open play – the most by any team in the league – and have plenty of firepower in side with goals coming from all areas on the pitch as well as the bench.     

"It's a difficult game because for them and for us, it's important to get three points. If we get three points, we have more options [to qualify for the semis]. Bengaluru need six points in the last two games [and other results to go their way in order to qualify]. I think it will be a good game because in this case, two teams have the same mentality and both teams want to get three points. I think it's going to be an emotional game," said Goa head coach Juan Ferrando ahead of the game.

Squads:

Bengaluru FC

Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon

Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang

Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva, Xisco Hernandez

Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh

FC Goa

Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva, Dheeraj Singh

Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes, Adil Khan

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Jorge Mendoza, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Glan Martins, Amarjit Singh

Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaokar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chothe

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 101: Bengaluru FC vs FC Goa

Date: February 21 (Sunday)

Time: 5:00 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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