Bengaluru FC host FC Goa in the first ISL clash of 2020 on Friday, with the champions looking to close the gap on the Gaurs at the top of the ISL table.
After an unbeaten start in their first seven games of the ISL, the Blues have lost two of their last three games, and being unbeaten against Sergio Lobera’s men in the last five games, they will be looking to push on and make it a positive start to the year.
Lobera’s side, on the other hand, have overcome what was an indifferent start riddled with injuries and suspensions, to win four games on the trot, and have their big players performing at an incredibly high level again. The likes of Ferran Corominas and Brandon Fernandes have been critical to this recent form, and Bengaluru have their task cut out in stopping them.
– Goa: Match Information
Date: 3rd January, 2020
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar
Venue: Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
Bengaluru FC v FC Goa: Team News
For Bengaluru, Manu Onwu is set return after recovering from an ankle injury but is most likely to start the game from the bench. So, Sunil Chhetri is expected to continue leading the line, with Ashique Kuruniyan expected to come back into the starting XI.
Bengaluru signed Jamaican striker Deshorn Brown on a one-and-a-half-year deal, on New Year’s Day, but he is not likely to feature in this one, with the Blues’ next game against Jamshedpur expected to be the one in which he makes his debut.
Goa are not expected to make any changes, with Lobera having settled on a first-choice XI that is firing on all cylinders. Defensively, there are a few concerns, but Goa will stick with the personnel that they have.
Coro and Brandon have both scored in each of the last two games, and against a side that has had the wood over the Gaurs recently, Lobera will be hoping that his crunch players can step up to the plate.
Bengaluru FC v FC Goa: Probable Lineups
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Rahul Bheke, Juanan Gonzalez, Nishu Kumar, Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Raphael Augusto, Udanta Singh, Ashique Kuruniyan, Sunil Chhetri
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Mandar Rao Desai, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Ferran Corominas
Bengaluru FC v FC Goa: ISL Form Guide
Bengaluru FC: L-W-L-W-D
FC Goa: W-W-W-W-D
Bengaluru FC v FC Goa Head-to-Head
This will be the seventh meeting between the two sides in the ISL, with Goa failing to beat Bengaluru ever since the first game between the two sides, which the Gaurs won 4-3 at the Fatorda. last season, after doing the double over the Islanders in the 2017-18 season.
Last season, Bengaluru beat Goa 2-1 in Goa, before a 3-0 win at the Kanteerava Stadium. The Blues also won the final last year, with Rahul Bheke’s 117th minute goal at the Mumbai Football Arena. Earlier this season, the two sides played out a 1-1 draw, after an injury-time Coro penalty pegged back the champions, who led through Udanta’s second-half goal.
Bengaluru FC wins: 4 (One after extra time)
FC Goa wins: 1
Bengaluru FC v FC Goa Prediction
Bengaluru are in the middle of an indifferent run of form, and they will hope that a return to home comforts will bring them the result that they desire here. Goa will be happy with a draw in this one, to keep the five-point gap between them and the Blues afloat. With the incentive to finish top in the league stages being huge, this is a game Bengaluru have got to win.
Prediction: Bengaluru FC 1-1 FC Goa