The league shield winners of last season FC Goa will begin their Indian Super League 2020-21 campaign against Bengaluru FC at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda.
The home side FC Goa managed to top the league table and were the first Indian club to qualify for the AFC Champions League group stage last season. Unexpectedly, fans got a blow when the management sacked their head-coach Sergio Lobera. As the season ended, the skipper Mandar Rao Dessai joined Mumbai City FC alongside Lobera. Other foreign players like Mourtada Fall, Ahmed Jahouh and Hugo Boumous followed. The vacant position of head-coach was filled by Juan Ferrando who earlier coached Volos FC in Greek league. The all-time ISL top goal scorer was replaced by Spanish striker Igor Angulo. Ivan Gonzalez, Alberto Noguera, Jorge Ortiz and James Donachie were the new foreign signings while Edu Bedia was retained.
Speaking of Bengaluru FC, under the guidance of head-coach Carles Caudrat, they reached the playoffs last season by finishing third in the league table. However, they couldn’t get past ATK as they lost in semi-finals. Bengaluru FC managed to sign foreigners – Cleiton Silva, Kristian Opseth and Spanish defender Fran Gonzalez. In addition to this, the Indians players signed were Pratik Chaudhari and Ajith Kumar.
3 INDIAN PLAYERS AND 3 FOREIGN PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR FROM FC GOA
Talking about the Indian players to lookout, FC Goa’s newest signings Redeem Tlang and Ishan Pandita, and the retained player Brandon Fernandes will surely catch the eyes. Being a winger, Redeem’s presence in the squad will be significant to put crosses into the box while Ishan Pandita is the one everyone will be waiting for to shine. Brandon needs no introduction as he will be the key man in attacking midfield position.
The three foreigners to be looked out are Igor Angulo, Ivan Gonzalez and Edu Bedia. All three Spaniards are known for their roles, very well assuring some good results to the team.
3 INDIAN PLAYERS AND 3 FOREIGN PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR FROM BENGALURU FC
On the other hand, Bengaluru FC’s striker Sunil Chhetri who is exceptionally good in scoring goals will surely add sparks in the match. Midfielder Suresh Wangjam and newly signed left-back Ajith Kumar will be versatile players to look out for.
Cleiton Silva, Erik Paartalu and Fran Gonzalez will be the three foreign players to look out. Alongside Chhetri, Silva will be the cherry on cake while Paartalu and Fran will maintain possession in defence and midfield.
Speaking about injuries, both team’s head-coaches will have full squad for selection as no injuries have been reported in training sessions or pre-season.
EXPECTED LINE-UP OF FC GOA
Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Saviour Gama (LB), James Donachie (CB) , Ivan Gonzalez (CB), Seriton Fernandes (RB), Lenny Rodrigues (LDM), Edu Bedia (RDM), Brandon Fernandes (LW), Alberto Noguera (CAM), Redeem Tlang (RW), Igor Angulo (ST)
Substitutes – Naveen Kumar, Sanson Pereira, Princeton Rebello, Romario Jesuraj, Jorge Ortiz, Ishan Pandita.
EXPECTED LINE-UP OF BENGALURU FC
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu (GK), Ajith Kumar (LB), Pratik Chaudhari (CB), Juanan (CB), Rahul Bheke (RB), Erik Paartalu (LDM), Dimas Delgado (RDM), Sunil Chhetri (LW), Cleiton Silva (CAM), Udanta Singh (RW), Deshorn Brown (ST)
Substitutes – Lalthuammawai Ralta, Harmanjot Khabra, Kristian Opseth, Fran Gonzalez, Ashique Kuruniyan, Suresh Wangjam, Leon Augustine
HEAD TO HEAD
Both sides have played against each other seven times. The Blues have recorded 5 wins over Gaurs while they have lost only once with a single draw. They shared 21 goals between them, where unfortunately, FC Goa found the net seven times only. Last time in ISL 2019-20 season both clashed against each other, where the Blues found a win with the help of Sunil Chhetri’s brace.
Bengaluru FC looks the stronger side on paper as they have lost only once against FC Goa. FC Goa is a team with new foreign contingent and staff while Bengaluru FC is a team where players hold solid experience of playing in ISL.
Looking at both sides, the match will be entertaining and we predict a drawn match resulting in both teams sharing 1 point each.