Bengaluru look to remain in playoff race as Goa visit Fatorda

Ashique Fit To Start As Dimas Returns To Training For Blues

Bengaluru FC Interim Head Coach Naushad Moosa brushed off talk of pressure ahead of his side’s clash against FC Goa, at the Fatorda, on Sunday. The Blues’ defeat of Mumbai City FC keeps them in sixth place on the table, four points behind the final playoff spot and Moosa believes the clash against Juan Ferrando’s side will be a tough one.

“FC Goa play as well as Mumbai City do, keep the ball well and like to dominate the possession. They have quality foreign players in their ranks like Jorge Ortiz and Igor Angulo, and the news that Edu Bedia can play will give them a big boost. They haven’t lost a game in a long time, have been scoring a lot and we have to be careful in the way we approach this game,” Moosa said in his pre-game press conference.

While anything but a win will end the Blues’ playoff chances, Moosa wants his team to not worry about the League table when they are on the field. “Yes, it could very well be a do-or-die game for us, but I am not using that term with my players. I think there is more pressure on Goa to confirm their playoff spot. We will remain calm, play like we did against Mumbai and enjoy our game. Will will take a look at how they set up and work on our attacks whenever we get the chance.”

The win against the then League leaders Mumbai has boosted the morale in the camp going into the final two fixtures of the season. “The last match gave players the confidence that they can perform under pressure. It was important for players to realise that the strength of the team is to work as a unit. It worked against Mumbai and we should replicate that against Goa. We have two matches left, we will stay positive, give our 100% and not worry about the league positions.”

While FC Goa are on an eleven-game unbeaten run, Bengaluru followed up their win against SC East Bengal with an entertaining, albeit goalless, draw against Chennaiyin FC before picking up full points against the Islanders earlier this week, and Moosa says the players will be eager to avoid slipping up against the Gaurs.

“After getting the three points against East Bengal, we were hungry for more and lost focus in the next game. A win takes us closer to the playoffs, but won’t be overly desperate for it. I want my players to remain focused, stick to our plan, not get frustrated and enjoy the game. They know the mistakes they made against Chennai and we don’t want to repeat that.”

Moosa also confirmed that there are no new injuries in the squad, and that Spanish midfielder Dimas Delgado is available for selection following the completion of his mandatory quarantine. “Dimas is back, but he won’t be starting the game as he has just rejoined training. Xisco (Hernandez) started against Mumbai and played for 60 minutes. We will see how he is progressing and take a call on giving him more minutes. Ashique (Kuruniyan) has recovered completely and is fit now, but we will take a call on whether he can start this game, later.”

Kick off at the Fatorda is scheduled for 5 pm and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Hotstar and Jio TV.

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