A much-changed Chennaiyin FC will take on NorthEast United FC in the final Indian Super League clash of the league phase at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Tuesday. Chennaiyin FC, who sealed qualification to the semis with a 1-0 away win at Mumbai City FC on Friday, will take on 9th placed NorthEast United FC in what is a rearranged fixture from December.
With playoff qualification done and dusted, Chennaiyin FC head coach Owen Coyle is expected to make wholesale changes in the wake of the semifinal first leg in Chennai on Saturday, February 29. Furthermore, with Vishal Kaith, Lucian Goian, Rafael Crivellaro and Nerijus Valskis – all key players – on three yellow cards, Coyle will be taking no risks by fielding them. If any of them were to feature and pick up the fourth yellow card, they would be suspended for the first leg of the semis against either FC Goa or ATK.
A win over NorthEast United FC would mean Chennaiyin FC finish third in the table above Bengaluru FC and thus face second placed ATK in the semis. If not, Chennaiyin FC finish fourth and play first placed FC Goa.
Irrespective of the opponent, Chennaiyin FC will play their home leg first on Saturday February 29 with tickets to the match now available on the BookMyShow app and website. And the physical ticket box office at Gate 10 of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai will be open from Wednesday, February 26.
The hosts NorthEast United FC are also expected to be without suspended Federico Gallego, having dropped out of the top-four reckoning. But they will welcome back Jose Leudo, Redeem Tlang, Wayne Vaz and Rakesh Pradhan to the squad. Both teams are expected to name a number of youngsters in the starting lineup, with the likes of versatile defenders Deepak Tangri and Reamsochung Aimol and forward Rahim Ali for the visitors. In goal, two-time ISL winner with Chennaiyin FC Karanjit Singh is expected to captain the team as was revealed by head coach Owen Coyle in the pre-match press conference.
The hosts have scored the least number of goals this season (14) while Chennaiyin are third in the list with 30. NorthEast United FC can however take pride in the fact that Chennaiyin FC have won only once in Guwahati in the ISL. While the visitors will be aiming to change that with a youthful side.