An all Indian Super League clash awaits FC Goa and Bengaluru FC in the second semifinals of the 130th Durand Cup. Juan Ferrando’s men have had a perfect record in the prestigious tournament as they have won all of their matches en route to the last four. Their rivals Bengaluru FC have also shown great pedigree in their win against Army Green in the quarterfinals leading them to the semis.
Ahead of the big clash, FC Goa head coach Juan Ferrando spoke about the match and his thoughts surrounding the game at the pre-match press conference.
The Gaurs are set to miss many crucial players including Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins and Seriton Fernandes as all three of them have left with the Indian national team for the upcoming SAFF Championships. But Ferrando believes that it won’t be much of a problem for them.
“I think it’s fine. Our target here (in the Durand Cup) is to work like a pre-season tournament. These games are important for us because we’ll be using them to prepare our players, including those among our reserves,” he said, highlighting how it will open up chances for other players to prove their worth.
The Durand Cup group stage fixtures started at around 3:00 PM while the quarterfinals were way more difficult as they started an hour earlier at 2:00 PM. But the organizers changed it and shifted it to a 6:00 PM kickoff in the first semifinal involving Mohammedan Sporting and FC Bengaluru, mainly to allow fans to witness the match as they were allowed after a long time. Ferrando feels that an evening fixture suits everyone.
“People want to watch the game both at the stadium and their homes. The players are more ready by that time and the weather is also better. Here’s Leander (D’Cunha), he’ll agree when I say that players started facing issues just 10 minutes into the first half during the quarterfinal, which was at 2:00 in the afternoon. It was very difficult. Overall, evenings are better for people to love football,” the Spanish tactician opined.
With foreigners like Edu Bedia, Alberto Noguera and Ivan Gonzalez all featuring in the Durand Cup, FC Goa are the favourites to bag the Durand Cup title. It is something which Juan Ferrando is very well aware of. However, he just dismissed the tag by calling it a pre-season for the Gaurs.
“This is pre-season for us. Everything will happen step-by-step. We’re not here thinking about the necessity of winning the trophy. We came here because we have games and training sessions,” he said, before adding, “There are two games remaining and we’ve never thought about trying to win. And as for pressure, I won’t say that there’s no pressure – 100%. Pressure will be there even in friendly games.”