Post Submenu: Match Information, Match Preview, Starting XI, Match Stats, Match Report.
FC Goa 1-2 Bengaluru FC
KICK-OFF: Nov 22, 7.30PM (IST) (GMT +5.30)
Channel: Star Sports HD1, Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3.
Streaming: Hotstar, Jio TV.
Highlights: Click Here
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda
A mouth-watering clash is in the offing when a free-scoring FC Goa host an unbeaten Bengaluru FC at Fatorda today. Goa are top of the table with 16 points; Bengaluru are on 13 points with two games in hand. To go on top of the table, Bengaluru will have to beat Goa by three goals clear – to compensate for Goa’s superior goal difference.
FC Goa come into this game on the back of two wins against Kerala Blasters and Delhi Dynamos before the international break. Coro remains the focal as well as the talking point in every game FC Goa is involved in. The Spanish forward is the league’s top scorer with eight goals from six matches; he is also level on the top of the assists chart with Federico Gallego of Northeast United.
In midfield, Edu Bedia and Ahmed Jahouh have been rock solid and have contributed with both goals and assists this season. The Indian contingent comprising of Mandar Rao Desai, Seriton Fernandes, Jackichand Singh and Manvir Singh have chipped in with good performances for the Gaurs.
For Bengaluru FC, the biggest challenge will be how their Spanish centre-back pairing of Serran and Juanan cope with the Goa attack. The Indian fullbacks Nishu Kumar and Rahul Bheke who have been excellent this season face a stern test. Nishu Kumar comes back into the fray after scoring against Jordan on his debut for the national team.
If Bengaluru FC can negate the Goa attack, they have enough firepower in the tank to score goals For all the attacking football Goa play, they have been vulnerable in defence. Captain Sunil Chhetri has recovered well from his ankle injury and will make the squad today. Miku has been in great form and Udanta Singh has run at the defenders at will.
Bengaluru FC are the only unbeaten team in the league and would like to keep it that way for as long as they can. They’ve conceded the least amount of goals this season and could put the brakes on FC Goa.
The match promises to be a showpiece game for the Indian Super League. It will also be a clash of matching philosophies with both Sergio Lobera and Carles Cuadrat adhering to the Catalan school of thought and are proponents of attacking football.
Sergio Lobera, Head Coach, FC Goa:
“I think on Thursday, we are going to face one of the best teams in the league. I think it’s going to be a big challenge. I, however, feel it’s a great chance for us to add three points, especially with us playing at home.”
Carles Cuadrat, Head Coach, Bengaluru FC:
“Lobera plays a very similar style of attacking football and his team scores a lot of goals so it will be a tough test for us. We have the same mentality and it means that it will be a good game of football for the supporters who are coming to watch us.”
FULL-TIME: FC Goa 1-2 Bengaluru FC
94′ – sub (Bengaluru: Rino Anto [IN] Sunil Chhetri [OUT])
85′ – sub (Bengaluru: Kean Lewis [IN] Udanta Singh [OUT])
84′ – sub (Goa: Edu Bedia [IN] Carlos Pena [OUT])
84′ – sub (Goa: Manvir Singh [IN] Jackichand Singh [OUT])
84′ – sub (Goa: Mandar Rao [IN] Brandon Fernandes [OUT])
77′ – GOAL! 1-2 (Sunil Chhetri, Bengaluru)
72′ – GOAL! 1-1 (B. Fernandes, Assist: Coro, FC Goa)
68′ – sub (Bengaluru: S. Haokip [IN] Chencho Gyeltshen [OUT])
59′ – RED CARD (Dimas Delgado, Bengaluru)
54′ – yellow card (Hugo Boumous, FC Goa)
51′ – yellow card (Xisco Hernandez, Bengaluru)
47′ – RED CARD (Mohamed Ali [second yellow], FC Goa)
36′ – yellow card (Mohamed Ali, FC Goa)
34′ – GOAL! 0-1 (Rahul Bheke, Bengaluru FC)
The Indian and Bengaluru FC captain Sunil Chhetri made all the difference in tonight’s game which had plenty of talking points across the two sides.
Bengaluru FC started well in the first half by pressing Goa all over the pitch. They nullified the usually brilliant Ahmed Jahouh in midfield and managed to contain Coro and Hugo Boumous further up the pitch with Coro invisible for the duration of the first half.
Bengaluru’s opening goal in the 34th minute came from the unlikeliest of sources – A Rahul Bheke back flick. A corner by Dimas Delgado found Xisco Hernandez outside the 18 yard circle and Xisco hit a weak shot into the box. The shot found its way to Rahul Bheke who had his back against the goal, but still managed a no-look back-flick finish.
Soon after the break, the FC Goa defender Mohamed Ali picked up a second yellow for a blatant handball and Goa were reduced to 10 men. In the 59th minute, Bengaluru FC made this a game of equals by picking up a red card of their own. Dimas Delgado after losing possession launched himself with a scissor kick at Hugo Boumous who was trying to head the ball away. The referee probably could’ve settled it with a yellow, but instead brandished a straight red card. An argument can be made that the referee treated it as a high-boot challenge especially when the ball was head-level high and did not take into account that Dimas was only looking at the ball.
Bengaluru had plenty of chances to put the game beyond doubt. Eventually, Goa scored the equalizer in the 72nd minute when Coro laid off the ball to Brandon Fernandes who hit a firm hard low shot. The ball deflected off the Bengaluru defender Nishu Kumar and then struck Jackichand Singh who was in an offside position and into the goal. The referee however did not notice the ball come off Jackichand and awarded Brandon Fernandes the goal.
After conceding the equalizer, the Blues were resolute going forward and took the lead again in the 77th minute. A cross to the far post from Udanta Singh found the Goa fullback Seriton Fernandes ball-watching and missing the ball completely only for Sunil Chhetri to pop up behind and score a diving header past the keeper. 2-1 to Bengaluru.
Following the Bengaluru goal, Goa made all three substitutions at the same time in a last-ditch attempt to get a result out of the game. They had three gilt-edged chances to get the equaliser, but spurned all of them away.
With the win tonight, Bengaluru are level on points with Goa, but the Gaurs remain top of the table on goal difference. Bengaluru have two games in hand and will look to take pole position when they take on Delhi Dynamos on Nov. 26. The Blues gave a good account of themselves inspite of missing key players in Eric Paartalu and Miku. The desire to eke and graft out a win shows great character and other ISL teams will need to match their desire and motivation to get a result when they face them.
As far as FC Goa are concerned, they did not play particularly badly and the game could’ve swung their way if they were more alert defensively; plus they really missed Edu Bedia. They will look to get back among the points in their next encounter against ATK at the Salt Lake Stadium on Nov. 28.