Blues resume football with clash against FC Goa at Bambolim

Pezzaiuoli Confident Of Putting Best Foot Forward Despite COVID-19 Cases and Quarantine Setback

Bengaluru FC return to Indian Super League action on Sunday after a twelve-day gap – most of which they spent in hard quarantine – when they take on FC Goa at the GMC Athletic Stadium. A slew of positive COVID-19 cases meant the Blues had to spend close to ten days in isolation, and saw them resume training only three days before the fixture. Yet, coach Marco Pezzaiuoli remained confident of putting on a good performance against the Gaurs.

The Blues are on a five-game unbeaten streak, having won against Mumbai City FC in their most recent encounter. In fact, Bengaluru FC’s last defeat came against the Gaurs. FC Goa, now managed by Derrick Pereira, will look to bounce back from a narrow defeat against SC East Bengal earlier this week.

“We returned to training two days ago and it has been good, because the boys were eager to go out and be able to kick a ball. Our boys have been going through a lot, injuries, personal problems and the like, but we are enjoying our football, which is important. Our team for training changes because of the quarantine, which is also not ideal but we are doing our best and the club has been very professional in the way it has gone about putting the health of boys ahead of everything else,” Pezzaiuoli said on the eve of the match, while also adding that his side had a fresh case of a player testing positive with the virus on Friday.

Bengaluru began the new year with a 1-1 draw against SC East Bengal, followed by a 3-0 win over Mumbai City FC. The Blues’ most recent fixture against ATK Mohun Bagan was postponed, owing to concerns of a COVID-19 outbreak in the camp.

FC Goa are currently level on points with Bengaluru, albeit having played a game more than Pezzaiuoli’s side. Both clubs are only four points away from a playoff spot and will look to climb up the ladder on Sunday night. Despite going down in their most recent encounter, Pezzaiuoli believes FC Goa possess enough quality to bounce back on their night.

“We need to be prepared, because I believe FC Goa are the best team when it comes to possession of the ball. They try to play offensive football, and have a good mix of foreign and Indian players. That said, we have a good squad and we will be up for the challenge, irrespective of the circumstances that have surrounded our preparation for the game,” said the Blues’ boss.

Pezzaiuoli praised his side’s resilience, through what’s been a tough few weeks in the camp. “Every day, every player has a different issue; personal problems, health issues, issues on the field, but still we are together and still enjoying our football. This has been very important, and I believe will help us have a good game against Goa.” Pezzaiuoli added.

Kick-off between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa is at 7.30 pm and will be telecast live on the STAR Sports Network, Disney+Hotstar and JioTV.