FC Goa is set to take on East Bengal FC in their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2022-23 campaign opener and the Gaurs will begin their season at the the Salt Lake Stadium. After a long wait of 950 days FC Goa will be playing in front of fans.
While East Bengal will be looking to bounce back from their opening day loss, Carlos Pena-coached Goa will hope to get their season off to a winning start at the iconic Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan (VYBK) in Kolkata.
Former Indian national team head coach Stephen Constantine leads the charge at the Red and Golds, who began their season with a deflating 3-1 defeat away at Kerala Blasters on Friday. They would hence be eyeing a comeback as they lock horns with FC Goa at home on Wednesday.
This will also be their first home game of ISL 2022-23, which would make this an even bigger challenge for the Gaurs as the fans of the Kolkata giants seldom disappoint when it comes to backing their team from the stands.
Carlos Pena, who was a part of the FC Goa playing squad when the Club last played the ISL in front of fans, is now back as the Club’s head coach. And he believes that the team’s strong personality will reflect on their performances this season.
“We’re really excited about the start of the new season. We had a good, lengthy pre-season where we worked hard on ourselves, and now we’re looking forward to the matches,” he said in the pre-match press conference on Monday.
“They (East Bengal) may have lost their first match, but the fact that they’re going to play in front of their own fans is one of the reasons that makes them strong. It’s going to be a challenge for us, but we will be brave. The game is important for both teams.
“One thing that I’ve noticed with our squad during pre-season is our personality. We’ll play with a strong personality, going for the win right from kick-off,” he further added.
While every new season brings with it lots of hope, the ISL 2022-23 season will be quite different for FC Goa compared to their previous campaigns in the league. For starters, the Club are looking to pull themselves back to the top end of the table after an uncharacteristic performance last season where they finished ninth.
For a side that reached the playoffs six times out of eight in the league’s history, FC Goa’s performances were below-par by their high standards, as evidenced by the squad overhaul that the Club oversaw during the summer. With as many as seven new signings including five foreign players and a new head coach, the new-look Gaurs have their task cut out to get themselves back to the playoff spots once again.
Pena’s boys will start their league phase with three successive away games, before returning to the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium at Fatorda on November 3 to play their first home match. That said, good results in this early away phase, is quite important for the Gaurs to get back on their feet. And as midfielder Iker Guarrotxena put it in the pre-match press conference, it is a challenge and it starts on the 12th against East Bengal.
Match Details: Match kicks off at 7:30pm IST
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