ISL 2019-20 Semifinal Second Leg Preview: A final bout to decide the finalists of the season
But with a spot in the final at stake, it is do or die for all the four teams. The return legs of both the ties should be thrilling and enticing. Here is how the first leg of the semifinals panned out, where each team stands and what to expect from the upcoming matches.
The Indian Super League (ISL) has had its fair share of drama this season, with FC Goa successfully negotiating all of the hurdles to emerge victorious in the group stage and book their spot in the AFC Champions League group stage for the next year. ATK, Bengaluru FC, and Chennaiyin FC made up the rest of the top four. Goa was pitted against Chennaiyin FC in the first leg of the playoffs while ATK faced Bengaluru FC away from home in the other playoff.
The drama in the first leg of the playoffs lived up to the expectations, at least the match between FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC was a thriller. The other match between Bengaluru FC and ATK at the Kanteerava was a relatively quiet affair.
But with a spot in the final at stake, it is do or die for all the four teams. The return legs of both the ties should be thrilling and enticing.
Here is how the first leg of the semifinals panned out, where each team stands and what to expect from the upcoming matches.
FC Goa v Chennaiyin FC
FC Goa vs Chenniyan FC (Image: ISL)
FC Goa were demolished in the first leg at the Marina Arena. Chennaiyin ran riot and crushed them 4-1, thanks to goals from Lucian Goian, Anirudh Thapa, ELi Sabia and Lallianzuala Chhangte. Goa had no answer and could only muster one goal from an unlikely source, that being Saviour Gama. However, that could prove to be a crucial goal as with the Away Goals rule applicable in the playoffs this year, it could prove to be a vital one.
FC Goa missed their dynamic midfield trio of Edu Bedia, Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes in the first leg but they are all expected to be back ahead of the decider at Fatorda. With more options at his disposal, Goa’s boss Clifford Miranda will be hoping his side can mount a fairytale comeback. They will have to win with a margin of at least 3-0, so expect fireworks and attacking football right from the go. Chennaiyin boss Owen Coyle has also clarified that his side will not sit back and try to absorb the pressure and will go for the kill themselves, so one would be foolish to miss this absorbing tie. With the final also scheduled to take place in Goa, the home side will no doubt do whatever it takes to go one step closer to lift their maiden title in front of their own fans.
Chennaiyin FC wins: 7
FC Goa wins: 9
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Mandar Rao Desai, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Ferran Corominas.
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith, Laldinliana Renthlei, Eli Sabia, Lucian Goian, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Rafael Crivellaro, Andre Schembri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nerijus Valskis
ATK v Bengaluru FC:
ATK v Bengaluru FC (Image: ISL)
Despite arguably being the better team on the night, ATK went down 1-0 to Bengaluru FC due to the plethora of chances they missed. A monster clearance from Gurpreet Singh Sandhu helped Deshown Brown nick a goal after a ricocheted shot from Erik Paartalu, and ATK gaffer Antonio Habas will be hoping his side will be less profligate at home. The Spaniard would need his key forward combination of Roy Krishna and David Williams to fire in what is the game of the season. The duo was on fire for the Kolkata side for most of the season but since Williams’ injury in January they have flattered to deceive. Nonetheless, they still have 19 goals and 9 assists between them and will be eager to prove a point infront of the home crowd.
On the other side, Bengaluru FC has scrapped through a lot of games this season and the first leg was no different either. The Blues might have a potential problem with Albert Serran suffering a heavy injury in the first leg though, as he could miss out for the decider at the Salt Lake Stadium, although he has travelled to Kolkata. Serran and Juanan’s central defensive partnership has been crucial for Bengaluru making it so far this season and there is no doubt Carles Cuadrat will have a huge problem to solve if one half of the duo misses out. Expect this game to be quite the tactical game that would probably enthrall the more nuanced viewer but with a lot at stake, it will be interesting to see how each side responds.
Bengaluru FC wins: 5
ATK wins: 1
ATK: Arindam Bhattacharya, Pritam Kotal, John Johnson, Sumit Rathi, Prabir Das, Jayesh Rane, Mandi Sosa, Javi Hernandez, Michael Soosairaj, David Williams, Roy Krishna
Bengaluru FC: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Rahul Bheke, Albert Serran, Juanan Gonzalez, Ashique Kuruniyan, Erik Paartalu, Suresh Wangjam, Dimas Delgado, Sunil Chhetri, Deshorn Brown