After a successful campaign in 2014, ISL season 2 has been equally competitive and exciting for past 3 months. We witnessed many ups and downs in the league table through out the season. We have seen last year’s runner up Kerala Blasters finishing bottom of the table. The fightback of ISL 2014 champion Atletico De Kolkata went in vain when they were beaten by Chennaiyin FC in semis( 4-2 on aggregate) over two legs. On the other hand, Goa managed to edge past Delhi Dynamos in the other semifinal to seal their place in the grand finale. As it stands both the last season’s semi finalists will fight for the trophy this time at Fatorda Stadium, Goa tonight from 7 p.m. IST on wards.
Key Players: FC Goa have been consistent through out the season. Lucio, the veteran Brazilian defender has been their marquee signing this year. Leo Moura and Reinaldo, these two Brazilians have been their stand out performers through out along with youngsters like Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo Fernandes. Moura has scored 2 goals and registered 8 assists already. Reinaldo is the 3rd highest scorer of this season with 7 goals under his belt. They are the league’s top scorer with 32 goals in 16 matches. Jofre, who was a key figure behind Atletico De Kolkata’s title win last season, has been a smart pick by FC Goa. He is creative, versatile and a tireless runner. Gregory Arnolin and Lucio have formed a solid partnership at center of their defense.
On the other hand, Chennaiyin had a poor start in ISL 2015. But they miraculously turned their season winning consecutive five matches . Their goalkeeper Apoula Edel has kept six clean sheets, more than anybody else in this year’s competition. They are disciplined at back and conceded just 17 goals in 16 matches, fewest in the league. Marco Materazzi’s side is hopeful to continue their disciplined defending in the final too. Not only defense,Stiven Mendoza and Jeje has formed a lethal pairing upfront. Mendoza is currently the highest scorer of the league with 12 goals. Jeje is the 2nd highest Indian scorer of the season behind Sunil Chhetri with 6 goals under his name and a key figure of Chennaiyin’s inspirational comeback. Elano, last season’s player of the year, has under performed so far. But considering his qualities and experience, he is capable of becoming the possible match winner for the Super Machans.
Form Guide ( Last 5 matches):
FC Goa: D-W-W-L-W
Chennaiyin FC: W-W-W-W-L
Head to head: These two have met four times so far; Surprisingly the home team never won. Both sides have two victories each against one another.
Injury News: FC Goa will miss the service of defender Raju Gaikwad. Though their highest scorer Reinaldo has recovered from a muscle strain and might be available for selection.
Chennaiyin boss Materazzi has confirmed that there were no fresh injuries in his side.
Probable Starting Line Up:
The final is between the most scoring side and the least conceding team. Still, FC Goa is in a little advantageous position as the match will be played in Goa and the home fans will cheer for Zico’s side. But Chennaiyin played their semifinal home leg match at Pune due to disastrous flood in Chennai and they thrashed Atletico De Kolkata 3-0 there. So they are not afraid of playing away from home and there is no clear favorite. It will be a competitive game and it might run for 120 minutes, even penalty shoot out. Whatever happens, the final is equally balanced where both the teams should come up with their best performance till date to win this prestigious title.
Photo by Great Beyond