ISL 2021-22: FC Goa looks to ride on momentum against Bengaluru FC

One of the marquee ties in the Indian Super League (ISL 2021-22) calendar every year, the Bengaluru FC โ€“ FC Goa clash at the Bambolim stadium on Saturday will pit teams that are placed a lowly ninth and tenth respectively.

Generally accustomed to competing for the top prize, the two sides have had horror starts to the season; BFC has been winless in its last four matches, including three defeats. Goa, after losing its first three games, barely managed a victory over SC East Bengal, a wild encounter which finished 4-3 in its favour.

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Juan Ferrando will be hoping for his side to build on the winning momentum, but remained vary of the threat from Marco Pezzaiuoliโ€™s team. โ€œIn these matches, there are no favourites, every team wants to win the games and have the capability to win it,โ€ he opined on match-eve.

โ€œYouโ€™ve seen the results: 6-4, 3-4. So, there are no particular favourites. Personally, the more important thing is, the players need to work as a team, which they did in the last game, and it was a pleasure to watch them play like that,โ€ he added.

Alberto Noguera’s form, who scored two in the last game, and Jorge Ortiz, who scored one and assisted two, should encourage Ferrando. But below-par defending has meant his wards have shipped 11 goals so far. The Spaniard, however, is one who believes in the collective responsibility to defend as a team and places great importance in a co-ordinated pressing game help shield his defenders.

Even as he continues to miss the controlling presence of Brandon Fernandes in the centre, he shifted to a back-three against SC East Bengal, dropping defender Dylan Fox to include creator Edu Bedia. What he does against BFC, a side which tries to press high, remains to be seen.

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BFC has looked similarly disjointed, with its midfield build-up play severely lacking. Pezzaiuoli pointed to the absence of centre-back Yrondu Musavu-King but remained hopeful that the outfit will find its attacking rhythm, even against a side which he called the โ€œbest team in the league with the ball.โ€

Encouragingly, striker Prince Ibara, who had a fine first-half against Mumbai City FC before limping out injured, is back in training, and so is Musavu-King. Winger Udanta Singh will however miss the tie.

โ€œWe beat NorthEast United 4-2, and since then our opponents have had fewer chances in each game,โ€ he said. โ€œHyderabad had half-a-chance and they scored. We had three or four chances and didn’t. This is an area we have to work on. It’s a team effort, and we’re working towards it,โ€ he said.

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