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ISL 2022-23: Advantage FC Goa at Fatorda as Bengaluru FC look to end goal drought

The Gaurs will be eyeing back-to-back wins for the first time since the start of the season, while the Blues will be itching to end their four-game losing streak.

football ISL 2022-23: Advantage FC Goa at Fatorda as Bengaluru FC look to end goal drought snt
First Published Nov 26, 2022, 8:00 AM IST

When the 2018-19 season finalists face off against each other in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Saturday, FC Goa will be hoping to extend their four-match unbeaten streak against Bengaluru FC. For the first time since the season's beginning, the Gaurs will be aiming for back-to-back victories, while the Blues will be eager to snap their four-game losing run.

With a 3-0 victory over ATK Mohun Bagan FC last week, FC Goa made a perfect recovery from their defeat to Kerala Blasters. With his fourth goal of the year, Noah Wail Sadaoui, who had been on the bench, sealed the victory for the Gaurs.

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Sadaoui now shares the Hero ISL 2022–23 record for goals scored with Ivan Kaliuzhny of Kerala Blaster FC and Abdenasser El Khayati of Chennaiyin FC. Sadaoui's place in the starting eleven has been taken by Alvaro Vazquez, who has recovered from an injury. The striker has played in the last two games, but has failed to score.

Speaking ahead of the game, FCG Head Coach Carlos Peña said, "It's going to be a very tough game. We will play against a team that is not in a good mood right now, but they have very good players who have a winning mentality. Tomorrow will be one of the toughest, if not the toughest, games we have played till now."

football ISL 2022-23: Advantage FC Goa at Fatorda as Bengaluru FC look to end goal drought snt

Bengaluru FC enters this match with an uncharacteristically poor run of form. The Blues were defeated by Mumbai City FC last week, falling by 4-0. With the setback, they tied their record of four straight losses during the ISL's 2020–21 season. 

The bigger issue is that the Blues have lost four straight games without scoring, unprecedented in their ISL history. If they lose to the Gaurs, this will be their poorest league start ever. Simon Grayson's team has scored the joint-fewest goals thus far with just two goals in six games, so there will be plenty of room for concern in the final third.

Grayson has been trying to find the right combination for quite some time this season now but he is yet to find a solution that Bengaluru FC desperately need. Skipper Sunil Chhetri was dropped to the bench in the last game, and Danish Farooq was deployed down the left flank. However, even that gamble failed to pay off.

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“After the game against Mumbai, the players saw a different side of me in the dressing room. Publicly, I have always backed the players, but the second-half performance did not warrant any backing from me because it was not good enough,” said Grayson. “But I have seen a good reaction and a positive vibe around the players in training after that and also noted an edge that they have been missing so far. That is the reaction in training, but we have to see how the reaction is on the pitch against Goa,” he added.

The two sides have met 11 times in the ISL, including the final of 2018-19. Bengaluru FC lifted the trophy on that day. In total, the Blues have recorded five wins, while the Gaurs have just won thrice in this fixture.

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