FC Goa are all set to play their first away game of the ongoing Indian Super League season against East Bengal FC. After a stellar start to the season with two consecutive wins at home, the Gaurs are now preparing to face the Kolkata giants at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha on Saturday, October 21 with the kick-off scheduled for 8pm IST.
In their previous matches, the Gaurs showcased their mettle with a 1-0 victory over Punjab FC and a thrilling 3-2 comeback win against Odisha FC, both at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda.
Currently in third place on the league table with 6 points from 2 matches, a victory will help Manolo Marquez’s boys close the gap with the league leaders Mohun Bagan Super Giant, who are on 9 points from 3 games.
FC Goa’s head coach Manolo Marquez expressed his anticipation for the upcoming away fixture. “This is a significant match for us. People ask me about why FC Goa are different when playing at home and playing away. I think we have to be consistently good everywhere. 15-20 years ago maybe, it was clear when you play at home or when you play away – the difference was too much. It has changed now, and teams play in the same style everywhere,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Of course, we love to play in front of our fans, but even in an away game, I wouldn’t want to make too many changes (to how the team plays). I’m very optimistic about this, and just like I’ve been saying from day one, I think that this will be a good season for us.”
“East Bengal FC have several quality players, including two of my former players Javi Siverio and Borja Herrera who were with me both in Spain and at Hyderabad FC. They have an experienced side and this will be a tough game. But then, I believe that all games are tough, and whoever performs the best on the day takes home the three points. We will try to do this on Saturday,” the Spaniard concluded
The head-to-head record between FC Goa and East Bengal shows a closely contested rivalry, with the Men in Orange having secured 3 wins, 2 draws, and 2 losses against the Red and Gold Brigade so far.
The Gaurs have been potent in front of goal, having scored 13 goals in their seven matches against the Kolkata-based club. However, they have also conceded 11 goals, underlining the need for a solid defensive performance.
In their most recent encounter during the ISL 2022-23 season, FC Goa emerged victorious with a 4-2 win at Fatorda. This match featured a remarkable 12-minute hat-trick by former Gaur Iker Guarrotxena, marking the second-fastest hat-trick in ISL history.
Led by Manolo Marquez, the former ISL Shield winners’ current form is impressive, with 5 wins, one draw, and one loss in 7 matches so far this season. On the other hand, East Bengal FC has displayed solid form as well, securing 5 wins, one draw, and two losses in 8 matches.
Currently positioned in seventh place on the league table with 4 points from 3 matches, East Bengal under head coach Carles Cuadrat will look to bounce back from their recent defeat against Bengaluru FC when they take on FC Goa on Saturday.
Incidentally, Cuadrat previously led Bengaluru FC to ISL Cup victory in the 2018-19 season, beating FC Goa 1-0 in the final at Fatorda.