FC Goa battle Chennaiyin FC in the first leg of their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) semi-final on Saturday, and you wouldn’t want to miss it for anything.
Not just because these two sides pose huge threats in front of goal, but because they enter the playoffs with a bit of momentum.
FC Goa is on a roll, winning five games in a row and sealing top spot in the league table, while Chennaiyin picked up crucial victories en route to a fourth-place finish in the table.
A lot of the success in the second half of the season enjoyed by these two sides came due to individual performances, and those players will clash on Saturday. We’ve picked out some of those eye-catching battles below:
#3 Seriton Fernandes vs Lallianzuala Chhangte
Seriton Fernandes is expected to feature against Chennaiyin after being suspended for the last Gaurs clash against Jamshedpur, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
The right-back has been a staple in the Goa team and will need to be sharp defensively when he comes up against Lallianzuala Chhangte.
Chhangte has five goals in the ISL this season and scored in the last game he played – a stoppage-time equalizer against NorthEast United.
This battle should develop into an interesting one, and will have viewers hooked for the duration of the game.
#2 Lenny Rodrigues vs Rafael Crivellaro
Lenny Rodrigues is the warrior that FC Goa needs as the club aims to navigate past the final four of the ISL.
Never fazed by the opposition, Lenny is Mr. Dependable for a reason, and his dependability will face a stern test in midfield as he comes up against Rafael Crivellaro of Chennaiyin FC.
Crivellaro has in many ways been the talisman for the Marina Machans, bagging an impressive seven goals and six assists this season, and tends to run the game from midfield.
The Italian’s creativity will clash with Lenny’s industry on Saturday, and the winner of this battle could tilt the balance of power in the favor of one side.
FC Goa’s thirst for goals this season has been unsurprisingly quenched by Ferran Corominas, who has 14 strikes to his name this campaign.
While there is no argument against Coro’s ability, perhaps the reliance on the Spaniard to keep on scoring may just work in Chennaiyin’s favour.
In other words, if the South Indian outfit manages to neutralise the forward, they could have a chance, and Lucian Goian could be key to ensuring that happens.
Goian is a throwback in many ways, and his no nonsense style of defending could prove handy against the style and guile of Coro come Saturday.
Either way, this battle is an intriguing one, and we’re looking forward to it just as much as the others.