Cracker of final on cards

Cracker of final on cards

It will be a battle of the two best teams in the final of the Indian Super League (ISL) at the Mumbai Football Arena here on Sunday. 

Bengaluru FC finished just above FC Goa in the league stage, courtesy of a better head-to-head record. The Blues registered a 2-1 win in Goa before outclassing the visitors 3-0 at home. Overall, the two sides have met four times, with BFC coming out on top on three of those occasions while Goa have won just once.

However, on the day, such statistics will take a backseat as both the teams will be gunning for glory, having never won the ISL title previously. BFC, especially, will be keen to not let history repeat itself after their heart-breaking loss to Chennaiyin FC in last season's final.

"I don’t think the results of the previous games give us confidence because this is a final and a completely different situation,” said BFC coach Carles Cuadrat at the pre-match press conference on Saturday.

The two Spaniards -- Cuadrat and Sergio Lobero -- having worked with the Barcelona youth set-up before, go about their business in a similar way. Both sides play free-flowing and attack-oriented football.

“Both the teams have a lot of quality in the midfield. The battle is going to be about possession of the ball in the midfield and how dangerous the top strikers that both teams have, can be,” the BFC coach said.

While Goa have blown away opposition this term, en route to scoring a staggering 41 goals so far, BFC have not been far behind with 33 to their name.

Cuadrat will hope that Venezuelan Miku, who rediscovered his scoring touch in the semifinal second leg against NorthEast United FC, continues to find the net. At the same time, he will expect Sunil Chhetri (nine goals), the top-scoring Indian in the league, and winger Udanta Singh, to not give the opposition’s defenders a moment’s rest.

Bengaluru like to control the play in the midfield where the likes of Dimas Delgado and Xisco Hernandez hold the key.

Lobera, meanwhile, has the league’s top-scorer Ferran Corominas (16 goals) in their ranks. The 36-year-old has developed a good understanding with the fellow Spaniard Edu Bedia, who is equally mindful of his defensive duties. Bedia has made 67 tackles over the course of the season.

“Coro is a wonderful player but we have Miku. They have Brandon (Fernandes) and Jackichand (Singh) but we have Sunil and Udanta. It’s going to be a very good attacking game. So, let’s see how the defenders manage against them,” said Cuadrat.

Lobera believes more than tactics, it’s the motivation that will take the front seat in the final. “It will be the matter of how the players handle their feelings before they come to play,” said Lobero.

“What happens in the past, stays in the past. Bengaluru are the favourites but every game is different. We are ready and excited about tomorrow’s game. The teams that performs better will take the trophy,” he added.

With no injuries plaguing either of the teams, it will upto to the coaches to find the best combination to get a positive result.

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