Match 19 Preview: FC Goa face Kerala Blasters with both teams in search of first win in Hero ISL 2020-21

FC Goa will cross swords with Kerala Blasters FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday with both teams seeking their first win of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21. Both sides go into Super Sunday’s second match with identical records having lost one and drawn two of their first three fixtures this season. The head-to-head between the teams though favours Goa. The Gaurs have won eight times, while the Blasters have emerged triumphant thrice besides also playing out a draw once.

Juan Ferrando’s men must start winning or they risk being cast further adrift of the top four spots in the standings. The Gaurs have looked good in patches but haven’t managed to put together a solid performance over the course of 90 minutes this season. They will be eager to change that as the search for their best starting XI continues.

While their defence is more or less settled with Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes and Ivan Gonzalez as certain starters, the same cannot be said about their midfield. Lenny Rodrigues, along with skipper Edu Bedia, has been involved from the start in all their matches so far but the rest haven’t. Ferrando is spoilt for choice in midfield with exciting attacking options like Alberto Noguera, Jorge Mendoza and Brandon Fernandes. However, it remains to be seen how he can fit them all into a system that works for Goa.

Up front, Igor Angulo has played his part in spearheading Goa’s frontline. The Spaniard has netted thrice in three games but will know that he can do better. That said, he could do with some support from talented Indian prospects like Makan Chothe and Ishan Pandita.

"I think it's very important to control the game against Kerala FC. When you watch Kerala Blasters FC, they have quality players and we have a totally different plan from what we had for NorthEast United FC," Ferrando said ahead of the game.

Kerala Blasters, meanwhile, will go into the contest on the back of a goalless draw. Goalkeeper Albino Gomes will be feeling confident after saving a penalty last time around and the centre-back duo of Bakary Kone and Costa Nhamoinesu will only give him more assurance. Kerala’s fullbacks Nishu Kumar and Jessel Carneiro are also proven talents who will be hoping to express themselves while bombing forward from the back.

The likes of Seityasen Singh and Sergio Cidoncha will be entrusted with creating chances for the Blasters from midfield. Rahul KP, Sahal Abdul Samad, Nongdamba Naorem and Ritwik Das can also surprise the opposition if given a chance by head coach Kibu Vicuna. As far as their frontline is concerned, Gary Hooper will be hoping for his first goal in the Hero ISL. He could also have some support from Jordan Murray and Facundo Pereyra if Vicuna chooses to go with two men up front.

“We have our own style. We will try to play the ball. In the beginning, both teams are going to go for the points. Both teams want possession and want to create chances. I hope we can watch a good game,” said Vicuna ahead of the game.

Squads:

FC Goa

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

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

Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel

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

Kerala Blasters FC

Goalkeepers: Albino Gomes, Bilal Husain Khan, Prabhsukhan Singh Gill, Muheet Khan.

Defenders: Costa Nhamoinesu, Nishu Kumar, Bakary Kone, Jessel Carneiro, Sandeep Singh, Abdul Hakku, Lalruatthara

Midfielders: Sergio Cidoncha, Sahal Abdul Samad, Vicente Gomez, Seityasen Singh, Rahul KP, Givson Singh, Lalthathanga Khawlhring, Yondrembem Denechandra, Nongdamba Naorem, Arjun Jayaraj, Ayush Adhikari, Jeakson Singh, Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, Ritwik Das, Rohit Kumar

Forwards: Gary Hooper, Jordan Murray, Facundo Pereyra, Naorem Mahesh Singh, Shaiborlang Kharpan.

Live Broadcast Schedule:

Hero ISL 2020-21 Match 19: FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters FC

Date: December 6 (Sunday)

Time: 7:30 PM onwards

Channels: Star Sports Network

Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV

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