Bengaluru FC hit the road for the first time this season when they take on FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Goa, on Thursday. The game is the first of three away fixtures on the spin that Albert Roca’s boys have been handed and the Spaniard has called for consistency if his side are to build on the good start the Blues have had to their ISL campaign.
Bengaluru broke little sweat in the 2-0 and 4-1 wins over Mumbai City FC and Delhi Dynamos, but Roca believes things will only get tougher from here. “We are going to be away from the comfort of our home and the kind of support we get from the stands which is why we need to focus more than always. We had a slip away from home last season and we went into a downward spiral that threw us out of the running for the League title. It’s a new start and we want to fix that,” said Roca, whose side will head to Guwahati and then Pune after the game in Goa.
In Sergio Lobera, Roca will be up against a Spanish coach for the second time in two games and given both have a Barcelona background to them, the clash promises to be entertaining. “He (Lobera) was in charge of Barcelona’s youth sides at the same time I was with the senior team and while we haven’t interacted much, we do know each other. Our styles and backgrounds are similar and it should be a good contest on Thursday,” said the Blues’ boss.
Roca rolled out an unchanged starting XI in the win against Delhi and it would be interesting to see if the Spaniard decides to tinker with the plan given he’s watched the opponents play twice now. Goa have in their ranks former Blue Mandar Rao Dessai, who along with Manu Lanzarote and Ferran Corominas form a clinical attack that the Blues will look to keep at bay.
Lobera’s men, who began the season with an impressive 3-2 win over Chennaiyin FC before losing to Mumbai in their second clash, will be looking to bounce back and Roca maintains that his side will have to be clinical. “Goa has impressed me more than any other team. They lost their previous game, but I thought deserved at least a point from that game, if not a win. They are one of my favourites to make it to the semifinal this year and we will have to be ready for a big battle,” he added.
On the injury front, the Blues continue to miss the services of Lalthuammawia Ralte, Joyner Lourenco and Dimas Delgado, while John Johnson, who picked up an injury in training earlier today, has traveled to Goa and awaits assessment from the medical team.
The game kicks off at 8 pm and will be telecast live on the Star Sports Network, HotStar and Jio TV.