ISL Final: Bengaluru FC v FC Goa - Predicted Line-ups as a new champion awaits
The exciting final of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is at the doorstep as Bengaluru FC prepares to face FC Goa at the Mumbai Football Arena on Sunday. The hunt for the new champion is all heated up with the best two teams of the league making the final.
With a number of match-winners in each team, the contest will only catch more eagerness. The ISL final will have a lot of Spanish flavor in it as both the managers come from the same background.
Bengaluru FC and FC Goa are two teams who have the midfielders in the league. It is interesting to see that here too, there is Spanish domination.
Now, we take a look at the Predicted XIs that will be fielded by the managers for the 90 minutes to the cup.
Bengaluru FC (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
There would be no doubt on who will be guarding the post for BFC. Gurpreet Singh has been their faithful custodian from the start and is expected to make good use of his experience during the final.
Defence: Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan, Nishu Kumar
Rahul Bheke would be found at the right-back position for Bengaluru FC yet again. The 28-year old has been exceptional at the wing moving up and down. Bheke can also be used at the center back position if Carles Cuadrat needs an extra foreigner in the attack.
Albert Serran will form the first shield in defense for BFC. Though the Spanish player was replaced by Xisco Hernandez, against NorthEast United FC, the manager might not take such risk against FC Goa. Serran will be joined by Juanan as the other center back. Juanan will be assigned the duty of keeping Ferran Coro out of any dangerous areas.
The left-back position will be reserved for Nishu Kumar. The 21-year old, occasionally part of attacks can be dangerous in providing balls to Sunil Chhetri.
Midfield: Alex Barrera, Harmanjot Khabra, Udanta Singh, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri
Alex Barrera and Harmanjot Khabra are expected to be the holding midfielders. Both the players will together have a mammoth task of restricting Edu Bedia in the Goan midfield. Barrera also offers Cuadrat an option of an extra attacker or a swap for Dimas Delgado.
Udanta Singh, Dimas Delgado and Sunil Chhetri will be playing the three midfielders in the attack.
While Udanta Singh will be on the right flank, Chhetri will be seen at the left. Both these Indian national team players will be eyeing at dangerous moves from their respective wings. Dimas Delgado will play as a central midfielder behind Miku. He will have the key role of a link between the holding midfielders and attackers.
The lone striker and most of BFC's hopes would be on Miku. The striker is now back in form after the forced break due to an injury and can be a serious threat to Goa's maiden title-winning hopes.
FC Goa (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Naveen Kumar
Naveen Kumar has been a consistent performer for the Gaurs, after his move from Kerala Blasters to FC Goa in the January transfer window. Naveen was the custodian at both the semi-final legs and would be at the same place against BFC.
Defence: Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Mandar Rao Desai
Seriton Fernandes would be at the right wing, facing Sunil Chhetri's attacks. The Indian skipper will put a tough challenge, cutting inside from the flank. Seriton, who rose to fame with his performances this season will have his final test in this form on the final.
Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena have formed a good combination at the stopper back position for FC Goa.
The indisciplined Goan defence got better when Pena was made Fall's partner at the center. Since then, the defense has been one of the league's best and did do well in the playoffs too.
Mandar Rao Desai will be the right-back, doing most of the work as a winger. Though not a usual wingback, the 26-year old was put up to this position on paper. Mandar is more part of the attack but always comes back on time to make his presence felt anywhere on the right flank.
Midfield: Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Edu Bedia, Brandon Fernandes
Ahmed Jahouh and Lenny Rodrigues would be the players with the most workload for FCG. Both, playing as holding midfielders will have counter-duties of Alex Barrera and Harmanjot Khabra, Jahouh and Rodrigues will have the duty of limiting the penetrating passes from the Bengaluru midfield.
Jackichand Singh is expected to start on the right wing but will move to the other wing at any time, to unsettle the BFC wingbacks. Jackichand can be handy with his pace and will be the perfect option in counter-attacks.
Edu Bedia will have an important role of playing behind the striker, winning balls and creating chances for the attacking colleagues.
The Spanish player has been exceptional in finding space and has a good understanding with Ferran Coro. This would make him a 'man to mark' for the Bengaluru players.
Brandon Fernandes had an injury concern in the previous game and was taken out at half time. However, the 24-year old is expected to be in the playing XI, starting as the left winger. He will have to face Rahul Bheke on the opposite side.
Striker: Ferran Corominas
Ferran Coro has been the best forward in the league this season and is a fair winner of the Golden Boot Award. Coro, who has 16 goals this season becomes unstoppable when supplied with the adequate balls. His pace and composure is sure to give Albert Serran and Juanan some hard time. Keeping Coro quiet would mean half the work done for BFC.