Chennaiyin FC host FC Goa in the second leg of the second semi-final of Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. The hosts have a slight edge with a crucial away goal in the 1 – 1 draw in the first leg at Goa, but they will be wary of their opponents’ efficiency in front of goal. The Gaurs know that they have to score in the game, and the fact that they are the league’s highest scorers this season should be motivation enough to eliminate the team that snatched the ISL title from their grasps in 2015. The winner of the contest will face Bengaluru FC in the league’s grand finale on Saturday.
HEAD TO HEAD
Chennaiyin FC 5 – 4 FC Goa (1 Draw)
Anirudh Thapa (Chennaiyin FC)
The 20-year-old has shown immense potential this season. He has used his pace and silky feet to good effect, and has been the initiator of countless attacks from midfield. Thapa has a couple of goals to his name, including his team’s crucial away goal against Goa in their last match. He has also bagged an assist and will be looking to inspire Chennai to the final.
Manuel Lanzarote (FC Goa)
The Spaniard has been one of the most effective players in the league this season. His partnership with countryman Ferran Corminas has payed dividends for his team, with Lanzarote chipping in with goals aplenty, while also making key passes throughout. He has 13 goals as well as six assists to his name and scored Goa’s only goal in the first leg. He will look to inspire his team to another good performance in Chennai.
POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUPS
John Gregory may use a 4-2-3-1 formation, which will depend on proper service to the striker from the wide areas and midfield.
Goalkeeper: Karanjit Singh
Defenders: Inigo Calderon, Mailson Alves, Henrique Sereno, Jerry Lalrinzuala
Midfielders: Dhanpal Ganesh, Anirudh Thapa, Thoi Singh, Rene Mihelic, Gregory Nelson
Forward: Jeje Lalpekhlua
Chennaiyin head coach Gregory on the away goal advantage: “The away goal is really a very minimal advantage. It is not something I would spend a lot of time thinking about. Obviously, if we keep a clean sheet we go through. But, should they score, it would change the whole complexion of the game.”
Sergio Lobera will most likely go with a 4-2-3-1 formation as well, in hope of maximising the width of the pitch.
Goalkeeper: Laxmikant Kattimani
Defenders: Narayan Das, Bruno Pinheiro, Sergio Juste, Mohamed Ali
Midfielders: Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Pronay Halder, Mandar Rao Dessai, Manuel Lanzarote
Forward: Ferran Corominas
Gaurs head coach Sergio Lobera on his team’s approach for the match: “We need to play how we have been playing; whatever makes us strongest. Tomorrow we will go out there to win the game. We know we are playing against a tough team. But it is our football that makes us strongest.”
The opening leg’s 1 – 1 draw was the first ever draw between the two teams
FC Goa 1 – 1 Chennaiyin FC (10th March 2018 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa)
Chennaiyin FC: D W D D W
FC Goa: D W W W D