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Panaji, March 7, 2020
Goa face Chennaiyin in the second leg of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) semi-Finals, looking to overturn the 4-1 deficit at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa on Saturday.
Goa will be boosted by the return of Edu Bedia who missed the game in Chennai due to personal reasons. There is more good news as Brandon Fernandes and Hugo Boumous, who were injured for last week’s tie, are back in contention for a start. Boumous, in particular, has been in spectacular form this season having scored 10 and assisted 11 in 14 matches.
With the return of Brandon, Goa would hope for better deliveries from wide positions, something which was missing from their game in the first leg.
Ferran Corominas will play as a number nine after playing as a withdrawn forward in the last game. The Spanish striker has 14 goals to his name this season and Goa need his goals now more than ever.
Interim coach Clifford Miranda will have a decision to make as to whether he would deploy an all-attacking line-up of Bedia, Boumous and Corominas or choose to go with two foreign centre-backs in Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena.
"We have to win to overcome the deficit, but that does not mean we go all out from minute one. It's 90 minutes and more and whatever football that I know, it is not decided in the first 10 to 15 minutes. It will be till the final whistle and we will take it minute-by-minute," FC Goa coach Clifford Miranda said.
Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC would look to score first and make the task even more improbable for the home side. Should Chennaiyin find the back of the net, Goa would need at least five goals to move to the final.
Coach Owen Coyle has mentioned that his players would not be lackadaisical in the second leg, despite enjoying a three-goal lead.
He would also ask for an improved performance from the front three of Nerijus Valskis, Rafael Crivellaro and Andre Schembri who had a quiet game by their standards. Goa also need to keep a check on the Chennaiyin attackers who are more than capable of hurting the opponent through a quick counterattack.
"When you have any sort of advantage, it's good to have that. That being said, we know that we have a very dangerous match. Over the course of the 18 games in the league, they have been the best team. I have so much respect for FC Goa and that won't change (but) we have to make sure that we see our advantage through, not that it won't present its own challenges," said Coyle.
A place in the final awaits the winner and coaches wouldn’t find it difficult to motivate their squad to give it their all in this intriguing tie.