Panaji, November 21 (IANS): Bengaluru FC will face a new-look FC Goa side at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao on Sunday in the third match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) season.
League winners Shield holders FC Goa find themselves in an unfamiliar position. While they have come to be associated with continuity and stability, Goa lost several key players, many of whom followed former coach Sergio Lobera to Mumbai City FC.
Despite that, they will be hoping to claim their maiden ISL trophy under new head coach Juan Ferrando after acquiring some experienced foreigners alongside promising Indian talent during the pre-season. The onus will be on the long-serving Edu Bedia to help the new arrivals settle fast.
Securing three points on Sunday won't be an easy task, though. They face a Bengaluru FC side, who have not only retained their core from last season but also further strengthened their squad. Bolstering the foreign contingent that includes the likes of Dimas Delgado and Erik Paartalu are Norwegian striker Kristian Opseth and Brazilian winger Cleiton Silva.
The statistics favour Carles Cuadrat's side. Since Bengaluru' entry into the ISL, Goa have won only once against them in seven meetings. Ferrando, though, is not dwelling on the past. "I know the history of Bengaluru FC against FC Goa," Ferrando said. "I know what happened in the last games. But this is a new team, a new chapter, a new moment of the season."
Cuadrat, who is yet to taste defeat against FC Goa as head coach, will be aiming to keep his record intact, with his side unbeaten in their last six games against the hosts, And he knows his side is in for a tough fight.
"I don't know Juan Ferrando personally but I know all the Spanish coaches have a good formation and are very studious about opponents, tactics and strategy," the 52-year-old said. "I'm sure they will be working really hard to have a plan against us, so I'm expecting a very tactical game."
With Bengaluru conceding just 16 goals last season -- the least by any team -- and Goa scoring more than anyone, fans are in for an entertaining contest between two heavyweights.