Bengaluru: High-flying ISL leaders Bengaluru FC would be forgiven for thinking of revenge when they face arguably the most entertaining side in the competition in FC Goa, in a clash of two potential play-off contenders here at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Friday.
A 3-1 victory over Chennaiyin FC sewed up four wins on the trot for the first time in their debut campaign, and the Blues are in unchartered territory in search of a fifth straight win. The clash against the Gaurs couldn’t have come at a better time for the hosts, who lost a heated seven-goal thriller at the Fatorda Stadium back in November, best remembered for Blues’ goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu’s idiosyncratic sending-off.
FC Goa’s form has been a mixed bag with only two wins in 2018 thus far. On the back of a morale-sapping 3-4 defeat to Mumbai City at home and a 2-2 draw against NorthEast United FC most recently, the Sergio Lobera-coached unit will look to return to winning ways in a crunch period that also sees them host Chennaiyin FC and travel to FC Pune City in the coming weeks.
Blues’ head coach Albert Roca is wary of the implications a win could potentially have in the quest for a play-off spot but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“Tomorrow we will be playing against a team which I think will be in the top four. Their style of play is interesting, and they like to attack,” Roca said. Attack has certainly the best form of defence for the sixth-placed Goans. They lead the team tally for goals scored with 29 but are third from bottom in terms of goals conceded (23). That leaky defence has cost them in recent weeks, but with two games in hand, it’s not something that necessarily concerns Derrick Pereira. “I think we play as a team and we follow a certain idea. We’ll stick to that and won’t change on those ideas,” the assistant coach said.
The attacking line-up proves a treat for fans. The Spanish strike duo of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote (eight goals) have led the line brilliantly for FC Goa, with the former topping the golden boot standings on 13 goals. He’ll be in focus across from BFC’s Miku and Sunil Chettri (nine goals). The Venezuelan powerhouse has scored 11 goals but will be keen to add to that tally at home with 10 of them coming on his travels.