Two of Indian football’s heavyweights, FC Goa and Bengaluru FC, will go against each other on Sunday at the Fatorda Stadium, in Goa. Both teams are eager to start their campaign on a winning note after missing the final of last season narrowly, falling short in the playoffs.
The Gaurs will be looking to settle down quickly under new head coach Juan Ferrando, who took over after the departure of Sergio Lobera. After Lobera, some of the key players instrumental in last season’s performance have left, too. Star forwards Ferran Corominas and Hugo Boumous, left-back Mandar Rao Dessai, midfielder Ahmed Jahouh have parted ways with the club. Most of them have joined Lobera at Mumbai City FC.
To make up for the exits, the club has added Spanish striker Igor Angulo, Redeem Tlang, Devendra Murgaokar, and Ishan Pandita. In midfield, the team looks settled with skipper Edu Bedia, Lenny Rodrigues, Brandon Fernandes, and Seiminlen Doungel. Goa will depend upon Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Seriton Fernandes, and Leander D’Cunha to manage the defence.
In the last 6 seasons, FC Goa has managed to reach the finals twice, won the League Winners Shield in 2019-20 and have also won the 2019 Hero Super Cup. After finishing the top of the regular league last season, FC Goa became the first Indian club to qualify for this year’s AFC Champions League, Asia’s premier club competition. With the ISL trophy still elusive, FC Goa will have to be at its best this season.
FC Goa’s full list of players for 2020-21 season
Goalkeepers: Mohammad Nawaz, Naveen Kumar, Shubham Dhas, Antonio D’Silva
Defenders: Sarineo Fernandes, Aiban Dohling, Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Leander D’Cunha, Mohamed Ali, Sanson Pereira, Saviour Gama, Seriton Fernandes
Midfielders: Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Brandon Fernandes, Edu Bedia, Flan Gomes, Jorge Mendoza, Lenny Rodrigues, Nestor Dias, Phrangki Buam, Princeton Rebello, Redeem Tlang, Seiminlen Doungel
Forwards: Aaren D’Silva, Devendra Murgaonkar, Igor Angulo, Ishan Pandita, Makan Chote
FC Goa’s opponent on Sunday is no stranger to success. Since its inception in 2013, Bengaluru FC has managed to win the I-League and the Federation Cup, both titles twice. The club also became the first Indian club ever to reach the finals of AFC Cup in 2016. In its Hero ISL debut, the club topped the regular league and reached the finals. In its second season, the club repeated the feat of topping the league. However, this time the club also improved on its last final’s result.
Indian national team skipper Sunil Chhetri will be leading Bengaluru’s frontline. He will be accompanied by Udanta Singh and new signing Kristian Opseth. Cleiton Silva, Harmanjot Khabra, Rahul Bheke, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, and Ajith Kumar are the other key players. Head coach Carles Cuadrat will be hoping his players manage to repeat some of the team’s past success this season.
Bengaluru FC’s full list of players for 2020-21 season
Goalkeepers: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Lalthuammawia Ralte, Lara Sharma, Sharon
Defenders: Juanan, Rahul Bheke, Francisco Gonzalez, Ajith Kumar, Joe Zoherliana, Biswa Darjee, Namgyal Bhutia, Parag Srivas, Pratik Chaudhari, Wungngayam Muirang
Midfielders: Dimas Delgado, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Thoi Singh, Ajay Chhetri, Emanuel Lalchhanchhuaha, Amay Morajkar, Harmanjot Khabra, Cleiton Silva
Forwards: Sunil Chhetri, Kristian Opseth, Ashique Kuruniyan, Deshorn Brown, Udanta Singh, Edmund Lalrindika, Leon Augustin, Semboi Haokip, Naorem Singh
FC Goa vs Bengaluru FC head-to-head
Out of the seven games both teams have played against each other, Bengaluru has won five of those, with the Goans managing to win once. The other game ended in a draw. If the past is anything to go by, the Bengaluru team is the clear favourite.
Live streaming details
The match will be shown live on Star Sports network and Asianet Plus. It will also be available online on Disney+Hotstar VIP and JIO TV.