Good evening everyone,

I’m certain that all of you are approaching today’s game with a sense of both anticipation and hope given our recent run of form. And it’s something that I, along with all the players, fully understand. We’re disappointed too; not just because of where we are on the table, but because we feel we haven’t had the returns worthy of some of the performances we have put in. But in football, it’s three points at the end of the game that make you happy, and that’s what we need achieve.

The game against Hyderabad on Wednesday was yet another example of what I’m saying. I have no hesitation in admitting that we had a poor first half. But we came out in the second half and completely dominated the game. We did everything right, except score a goal. Hyderabad, on the other hand, had one chance and a half throughout the game. And that’s where the disappointment kicks in.

What is encouraging though is the positive energy within the team. Everyone realises that we are staying true to the style of football we want to play, and that we need to work on a few things that will make the difference between leaving the stadium with all points or none.

Tonight we take on a team that I feel is the best in the League when it comes to ball possession. FC Goa may not have had the start they wanted, but they are a very good team with a very solid midfield that we will have to stop if we are to take control of the game. We played them in a pre-season friendly and know what they are capable of.

In team news, we continue to be without Leon, Udanta and Akashdeep, while Prince and Iman could feature in the squad. I usually don’t prefer speaking about players that aren’t available for selection, but we are definitely missing King, who is a voice in defence and is also very comfortable on the ball, and helps start our attacks. We’re not keen on rushing any of our players back though, and I’m confident everyone will step up to the challenges ahead of us in the coming games.

We are being patient and are hopeful of turning the tide, sooner than later. This team is committed to doing well, and establishing the kind of football we want to play and be known for. Like always, your support of this team means everything to us. We will have more reasons to be happy soon, it’s something we are all working towards. Till then, take care, stay safe and keep flying the Bengaluru FC flag high.

Love,
Marco

The Big
Preview

IN NEED OF THE THREE

Tonight’s fixture pits two teams desperate for three points, against each other and that’s entirely what this game hinges on. It took Goa three losses before they could bag their first win of the season. Bengaluru, meanwhile, started their campaign with a win, but have since stuttered, picking up just one point in four games. The hosts are keen to pick up momentum, while the Blues are eager to turn a corner as they’re both looking to climb up the table. Goa-Bengaluru games have always been entertainers, and form notwithstanding, we should be in for another cracker tonight.

STAND UP, BE COUNTED

The Blues have been plagued with injuries to key players and Marco Pezzaiuoli will need for the rest to step up and deliver. Udanta Singh – who had a bright start to the season – continues to be a doubt, so does striker Prince Ibara, midfielder Iman Basafa and defender Musavu-King. The Bengaluru boss has never used the injuries as an excuse for his side’s run of form, but has acknowledged that those playing will need to do better on all fronts if Bengaluru are to shake off this slump. Bengaluru will also hope that their talismanic captain, Sunil Chhetri, will pick tonight to break his goalless-run of five games.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THINGS

Both defences haven’t been the tightest and neither have both sets of strikers scored at will, but it is in the middle where this game could be decided. Edu Bedia orchestrates play and is precise with his set-piece delivery, Glan Martins is relentless with the dog-work and Alberto Noguera gets into goalscoring positions more often than rival defences would like. In fact, the Spaniard bagged a brace in the 4-3 win over East Bengal and will be riding on confidence tonight. The Blues have been fairly solid in the middle too, with Bruno Ramires and Suresh Wangjam disrupting attacks with some incessant pressing, while Jayesh Rane has been a livewire when Bengaluru attack. Like we said, this promises to be a cracker.

BFC
Squad

GOALKEEPERS

1
GURPREET SINGH SANDHU
30
Lara Sharma
43
Sharon Padattil

DEFENDERS

4
Pratik Chaudhari
5
Alan Costa
15
Wungngayam Muirang
16
Sarthak Golui
19
Ajith Kumar
27
Parag Shrivas
29
Yrondu Musavu-King

MIDFIELDERS

6
Bruno Ramires
7
Jayesh Rane
8
Suresh Wangjam
10
Iman Basafa
12
Danish Farooq
13
Ajay Chhetri
18
Rohit Kumar
22
Ashique Kuruniyan
25
Namgyal Bhutia
32
Naorem Roshan Singh
35
Biswa Darjee
40
Damaitphang Lyngdoh
42
Akashdeep Singh

FORWARDS

9
Prince Ibara
11
Sunil Chhetri
14
Harmanpreet Singh
17
Edmund Lalrindika
21
Udanta Singh
23
Cleiton Silva
26
Bidyashagar Singh
31
Leon Augustine
39
Sivasakthi Narayanan

FCG
Squad

GOALKEEPERS

1
Dheeraj Moirangthem
55
Hrithik Tiwari
32
Naveen Kumar

DEFENDERS

12
Dylan Fox
27
Aiban Dohling
24
Ivan Gonzalez
41
Lalhmangaihsanga
6
Leander D’Cunha
37
Mohamed Ali
2
Sanson Pereira
21
Saviour Gama
20
Seriton Fernandes
47
Manushawn Fernandes

MIDFIELDERS

5
Alberto Noguera
14
Alexander Jesuraj
10
Brandon Fernandes
46
Christy Davis
18
Danstan Fernandes
23
Edu Bedia
43
Flan Gomes
25
Glan Martins
19
Maken Chothe
44
Muhammed Nemil
17
Nongdamba Naorem
11
Princeton Rebello
22
Redeem Tlang

FORWARDS

7
Airan Cabrera
29
Devendra Murgaonkar
9
Jorge Ortiz

Head Coach

Juan Ferrando

I know how the fans are feeling because a big part of me is a fan of this club. We will turn a corner.

The Skipper Bares His Heart On The Blues Indifferent Start To The Season, His Lack Of Goals, The Frustration The Fans Feel And How That It’s Just A Matter Of Time Before Bengaluru Return To Winning Ways…

It’s been far from the ideal start to season. What’s it like when you sit together as a team after games with no returns?

It’s a mixed feeling, to be very honest. I think we are really frustrated, not only because of the loss but also because we feel like we should have got more out of the games that we played. I think we’ve been training really hard, the sessions have been really good and everyone is working really hard. And then we go on the pitch, and because of individual errors – starting from me – we end up losing or drawing games. We sit and watch the analysis of the games and there are silver linings. But we also understand that we have a lot to improve on, individually and as a team.

We won’t sugar-coat this one – just how frustrated are you with your own form and the lack of goals? Is there a sense of desperation to find the back of the net that’s further delaying it?

I’m not desperate. As the game goes by, the emotions come out and that’s not helping me. But I’ve been here many times in my career, and I’m trying to stay calm. Not only my performances, but also how I behave and talk and how I apply myself on the pitch reflects on a lot of boys in the team, and I don’t have the luxury to sulk for a long time or to be negative or overly desperate. I’m trying my best and it’s not easy, when you miss two penalties on the bounce for a team that you love so dearly, For a team that you have done well for in the past. It’s something that I’ve never done in my life - missing two penalties where we could’ve grabbed a couple of points out of. It did affect me and I’m trying my best to overcome it, do my best in training and set an example. It is not easy, especially inside the bubble. I’m not trying to give any excuses but I have to, there is no other way. I’m trying to stay positive and thankfully I’m surrounded by a team where everyone supports me and I will bounce back. I’ve missed many goals in my career, I’ve scored a few and I’ll score many more soon.

In Goa, you’re up against a team that like us, have had a tough start to the season. What do you expect from them?

I think the last few games where we lost points are more because of how we played as a team. I’m not trying to sound arrogant, but we shouldn’t have dropped the points that we did. A lot of that had to do with how we played, mistakes that we made and it’s the same with Goa. They’re the best team when it comes to keeping the ball and I think they are very strong. We are not reading too much into their last four games. They’re a strong team but it’s more about how we played. We need to work on minimising our mistakes and making sure we go with a positive mindset. There are a lot of things that we’re doing well and we’ll keep working on that and try to get a win.

How big will a win be for the mentality of the squad at this juncture?

It will be massive. But I don’t want to put it like this, because I can already see a lot of youngsters feeling the pressure and I don’t want that, it’s not ideal. Yes, a win is very, very important, but just by doing what we do in training and minimising the mistakes, we’ll get there, surely. The entire team has watched the games and there aren't huge problems in the team that need rectification. We have been unfortunate with injuries where five-six starting players are out, which is not ideal for the team. Whoever has come has done well and we’ll keep doing that. We definitely would love a win and we’ll get a win but I don’t want to put pressure on the team. It’s high time, it’s a short league, we can’t be dropping points the way we have and still expect the team to get into the top 4, which is our aim.

There’s frustration and disappointment and it’s fair to say that the fans feel the same way, is there a message from you for them?

I think I know how the fans are feeling, because a big part of me is a fan of BFC. I've been here from day one, and I know exactly how they are feeling. Right from how we started and played the first six seasons, and to see the team struggle but going through whatever we’re going through, I can definitely relate to how the fans are feeling. All I can say is, don’t lose hope. Apart from the individual errors, another reason we’ve struggled is because we’re not playing at the Kanteerava, it’s as simple as that.
The one team that is struggling the most without playing in front of their fans is us. It’s evident. But don’t lose hope, I assure you that the boys are working extremely hard in training. We have an excellent coach who is knowledgeable and works really hard, the coaching staff is working really hard, the team behind the scenes are also working very hard. I know because I’m here and I feel very confident about it. But you as fans, all of you, don’t lose hope. It’s difficult with how things are going, but, we’ll bounce back. I’m not trying to sound boring, but I have full confidence with how we’re training and things will fall into place. Injuries don’t last forever, individual errors will not happen in every game. I’m not going to miss goals in every match. Things are going to be fine. My assurance to you guys is that we’re training very hard and we’ll continue to do so. We will turn a corner soon. Keep believing in this football club.

KEY MEN
BENGALURU FC

Sunil Chhetri

After a slow start to the season, the Bengaluru FC captain is itching to get on the scoresheet in what will be his 100th Indian Super League game. The skipper has not been able to find the back of the net so far this season, and will look to change that when Bengaluru face a struggling FC Goa side.

Suresh Wangjam

The midfielder has been a dynamite in midfield for Bengaluru FC disrupting play for opponents and putting in tackles to win possession. Going against Glan Martin in midfield will be a challenge Suresh Wangjam will look forward to as they have experience playing together for the Indian National Team. After an impressive debut season for the Blues, El Torito will look to keep his good run of form going irrespective of a couple of underwhelming performances this season.

Bruno Ramires

The Blues’ midfielder has had a decent start to the season displaying his dominance in midfield and showing great muscle in the middle of the park. Bruno Ramires will have a big task ahead of him as he will look to keep the FC Goa attack at bay. With a 78% passing accuracy, Bruno Ramires will look to move the ball around the park and create space for his teammates.

KEY MEN
FC GOA

Jorge Ortiz

With four goal involvements in as many games this season, Jorge Ortiz will pose a serious threat for the Bengaluru FC backline. The FC Goa number nine is an experienced hand and has bagged a total of seven goals during his time in the ISL. With FC Goa also having a tough start to the season, the forward will look to contribute towards a resurgence for the club and will be a handful for the Bengaluru FC defenders.

Edu Bedia

The FC Goa captain will be determined to turn his teams’ fortunes around after a tough start to the season. A set-piece specialist who’s been in the League since the 2017-18 season, Edu has faced Bengaluru FC on multiple occasions and will know Bengaluru’s style of play like no other. He will look to get the better of Bruno Ramires and Suresh Wangjam in what will be an interesting midfield battle to say the least.

Glan Martin

After an impressive spell with FC Goa last season, Glan Martin earned himself a national team call-up and has made that midfield position his own. The midfielder plays a key role in Juan Ferrando’s system. Tenacious tackles and long range shots are guaranteed with the midfielder on the pitch, and he will look to disrupt BFC’s passing game with every opportunity that he gets.

FLASHBACK
FCGBFC

November 22, 2020
FC Goa 2 (Angulo 66, 69)
Bengaluru FC 2 (Silva 27, Juanan 57’)

After spending the best part of two months on two floors of the same team hotel, the Blues and the Gaurs made the trip to the Fatorda to face each other in their opening fixture of the 2020-21 Indian Super League campaign.

Bengaluru started strong, keeping possession well and pushing forward in their search for the opener as skipper Sunil Chhetri’s effort went wide of Mohamed Nawaz’s frame. Nearing the half-hour mark, the persistence paid off when Harmanjot Khabra’s long throw fell kindly for Cleiton Silva, who nodded home under pressure to give Bengaluru the lead.

The Blues took the advantage into the break and came out to double it with a clever set-piece routine after Deshorn Brown and Erik Paartalu combined in the box to find Juanan unmarked who slotted home. Up by two goals and less than half an hour to play, Carles Cuadrat’s side looked to be cruising to the points when Igor Angulo decided to take matters in his own hands.

First, the Spaniard beat the offside trap to finish from an Ivan Gonzalez pass, before converting a low cross just six minutes later to square things up. Bengaluru’s bid to reclaim the lead went in vain as Juan Ferrando’s side salvaged a point at the Fatorda.