FC Goa and Bengaluru FC are two of the most attacking sides in Indian Super League this season. Sergio Lobera and Albert Roca have successfully instilled a Spanish flavour to the style of football that their teams play. And as a result, they have been visually pleasing for football fans and are regarded as hot favourites for the ISL title.
Both Goa and Bengaluru prefer to keep the ball on the ground and make use of the space in front to pass the ball around and score. They play an altered version of tiki-taka which is adapted for Indian soil.
The delightful tactic employed by Lobera and Roca demands cohesion and communication between players. Each player should know what his role is and where his teammates are on the field. And for that, the coaches need to develop chemistry between players. And how exactly do they build that?
FC Goa has a total of 1080 minutes of football so far this season and seven players out of the 25 available have recorded more than 1000 minutes. Kattimani, Mohamed Ali, Ahmed Jahouh, Lanzarote, Mandar Dessai, Edu Bedia and Corominas have been mainstays in Lobera's starting lineup and not without a reason.
The same applies to Gurpreet, Rahul Bheke, Khabra, Paartalu, Miku, Sunil Chhetri and Udanta Singh of Bengaluru FC. These players are asked to play every game without adequate rest in order to maintain the unique brand of football that the coaches want to showcase.
The more the players play together every game, the better their on-field communication becomes. And the result is there for all to see in the case of FC Goa and Bengaluru FC. But the only downside to this when fixtures pile up and take a toll on the players.
Roca had decisions to make. Can he keep on fielding fringe players for Bengaluru's AFC Cup clashes? Well, he might have to, given their fixture list until the end of the season.
After the game against FC Goa, the Blues travel to the Maldives to take on TC Sports in AFC Cup and thus begin a run of four games in the space of 12 days. FC Goa will play the same number of games in 13 days.
The safest option is always to find the right balance between lack of rotation and too much rotation. But the extremes have worked for both sides so far in the league and it will be interesting to see if they can afford to continue in the same way as we move towards the final few weeks in Indian Super League. The likes of Chennaiyin and Pune City wouldn't mind!