FC Goa and Bengaluru FC are meeting in the final of Indian Super league (ISL) for the first time despite both losing in their first final appearance. FC Goa reaches the final after a gap of two years and Bengaluru FC after one as they clash at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai today.
Interestingly, FC Goa lost their final when they were winning and Bengaluru FC lost when they were tipped to win. Unpredictability, is the essence of football and despite both teams shoring an equal number of positives into the finals, the balance tilts in favour of Bengaluru FC because they carry their football as unaccompanied baggage.
The winner at the Mumbai football Arena will be decided by the midfield wizardry of FC Goa and Bengaluru FC and specifically between Ahmed Jahouh of FC Goa and Dimas Delgado of Bengaluru FC and the better of the two, will see the title move East or West.
FC Goa has charted a course full of platitudes right up to the finals with their predictable style of football and unpredictable burst of energy. Bengaluru FC has been more cohesive with responsibility being equally shared by any eleven; at any time on the field- they play with unlimited choice.
The two teams have met four times and Bengaluru has won thrice. However, in the four times they met, Bengaluru FC played with ten men against FC Goa twice and on both occasions, when they were down to ten men, they scored more than FC Goa did.
Bengaluru FC were reduced to ten men last season against FC Goa in Goa and despite losing 2-4 they had scored two goals against Goa’s one when they were down to ten men. The second time they were reduced to ten men at home in Bengaluru, they scored three past Goa and won 3-0.
The football played by Bengaluru FC is free flowing. They do not have or do not need a Coro to score goals because they have Miku, Chhetri and Udanta. Similar is not FC Goa’s story. There has to be a Coro for a flow of goals or there has to be an Edu Bedia to let the flow continue. If not, there is a stutter and this could well be exploited by Bengaluru FC.
Mourtada Fall has brought respectability to FC Goa’s defense and Carlos Pena has taken that respectability to another stage with Seriton kneading the frills when required. Both teams do not suffer from much defensive bottlenecks except, that, Bengaluru FC may try to exploit captain Mandar Rao Desai on the right. Catching Mandar off track has not been a difficult proposition to opponents and will definitely not be for Bengaluru FC.
Gurpreet is the blue eyed boy below the horizontal for Bengaluru FC but, Naveen kumar could be the pink diamond of FC Goa. Gurpreet has a body to stop the ball and he uses it well. Naveen has a better goalkeeper mind and can be a tougher nut to crack. This could be one area that could wobble Bengaluru and leave FC Goa with a better look at the crown.
In the four times the two teams have met, Bengaluru FC –despite losing one- has looked better all times. The two teams cannot be separated by the number of goals scored, or goals conceded but on their style of football. Both teams are robust. However, Bengaluru are more sustained.
Yet, the core of football centers round its unpredictability. Goa lost when they were on their way to win; Bengaluru lost when they were tipped to win. Which centre football decides to centre around today will be determined by the sustainability of FC Goa and Bengaluru FC.