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ISL 2020-21: FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters - 5 key battles

ISL 2020-21: FC Goa vs Kerala Blasters - 5 key battles

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 6 Dec 2020 10:07 AM GMT

Sunday’s big match in the Indian Super League (ISL) sees hosts FC Goa line up against Kerala Blasters at the Fatorda stadium in Margaon. Both sides are looking for their first victory of the season after an inconsistent start. Lying at 8th and 9th in the table respectively, one gets the feeling that something will have to give in today’s match if either team has to turn a corner. Here we look at the five key individual battles that may decide the fate of what promises to be a fascinating encounter.


Gary Hooper vs Ivan Gonzalez

The English striker’s arrival had been heralded as a fantastic bit of business by the Blasters. But with just one goal in three matches, he has been largely a peripheral figure till now. He has had just 56 touches of the ball in three matches which is indicative of the poor service available till now. However, his duel with Ivan Gonzalez, if he starts the game, will be an intriguing one. The Spanish defender has been solid so far with 11 tackles, 7 blocks and quite a few important clearances from dangerous areas. Hooper will be hoping he can take advantage of his lack of speed though as he looks to play a bigger role for Kerala.

Brandon Fernandes vs Jeakson Singh

Brandon came off the bench in the first two games, starting only against NorthEast. Even then, his progressive passing and crossing has yielded one assist and a couple of pre-assists. His undisputable quality on the ball and movement will have to be checked by young Jeakson Singh who is most likely to start in midfield in the absence of Cido and Vicente Gomez. The 19-year-old will have his task cut out though as a free-flowing Brandon can decide the match by himself.

Igor Angulo vs Costa Nhamoinesu

The Spanish striker has made a good start to life in the ISL. He has three goals in as many games and with Brandon back in the side, can expect better service from midfield. However, even he would like a little more involvement in the buildup having had just 45 touches of the ball in three matches. Facing him will be the dependable Costa Nhamoinesu in a clash of two veterans of the game. With a clear height advantage and his vast European experience, head coach Kibu Vicuna will be banking on Costa to keep Angulo, and therefore Goa, quiet.


Jorge Ortiz vs Bakary Kone

The other FC Goa attacker, Jorge Ortiz has had an up and down to the season. But against NorthEast, he came into his own, playing the whole 90 minutes with 7 shots and 7 crosses to boot. Bakary Kone will have the task of keeping him in check. What makes this an interesting battle is Ortiz’s trickery against Kone’s tendency to commit cheap fouls. If the Burkina Faso defender can keep that aspect of his game under control, he should be able to keep pace with Ortiz, especially in aerial duels.

Nongdamba Naorem vs Seriton Fernandes

The two youngsters will come face to face on the left side of Kerala’s midfield. 20-year-old Naorem hasn’t quite set the stage on fire till now, only showing glimpses of his ability. He was dropped for the second match but came back into the side against Chennaiyin. However, the former Mohun Bagan winger will be hoping to get the better of Seriton who himself has been the most impressive of the Goa defenders. With Facundo Pereyra behind him, Naorem will have the freedom to express himself and provide good service to the likes of Gary Hooper, something that Seriton might have a thing or two to say about.

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