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ISL 2018-19 Final: FC Goa's Naveen Kumar is wary of Bengaluru FC's set-pieces

1:16 AM EDT 3/16/19
Naveen Kumar FC Goa ISL 5
The former Mohun Bagan custodian has spoken of a healthy competition with Mohammad Nawaz

Naveen Kumar feels that FC Goa will have to be overly cautious of Bengaluru FC in set-pieces when the two teams face each other in the final of the 2018-19 Indian Super League (ISL).

"None of the teams in the ISL can be easy. We cannot say that any particular team is not good in set-pieces or in any department (on a given day)," said the goalkeeper in conversation with Goal.

"The difference can be made in a second. Especially against a team like Bengaluru who are very good with set-pieces, we will have to concentrate thoroughly during their set-pieces and counter-attacks," he added.

After displacing Laxmikant Kattimani last season as the first-choice goalkeeper, he moved to Kerala Blasters where he struggled for minutes.

An injury to Mohammad Nawaz who was undisputed between the sticks in the first half of the season forced Sergio Lobera to rope in Naveen in the January transfer window. He has since then made the first-choice spot his once again. The Punjab-based JCT youth product admitted that working with his younger counterpart at the club has been enjoyable.

"In the four-to-five matches that I played in last year (at FC Goa), the results were good. I kept a few clean sheets too. At Kerala [Blasters] also it was okay, but then I returned (on loan) when coach (Lobera) showed interest in me. Coming here, I got my opportunity when Nawaz got injured. I'm lucky to come back here, now that we are in the final also," he exclaimed.

"The understanding with Nawaz has been good. He is a young boy with much more exposure to the basics that wasn't there during our time. So it's fun training with him. He's a nice lad and a good player. It's a healthy competition between us," Kumar mentioned.

The final between Bengaluru FC and FC Goa is set to be staged at the Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai, on Sunday.