Chennaiyin FC take on FC Goa in the semi-final second leg of Indian Super League (ISL) 2017/18 season Tuesday, March 13 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.
The hosts are heading into the match as favorites to meet Bengaluru FC in the final scheduled for March 17 in Bengaluru after having sealed a crucial away goal during their 1-1 draw with Goa in Margao on March 10. John Gregory's side needs just a goalless draw Tuesday to confirm their final berth.
With the backing of the home crowd, Sergio Lobera's Goan side started the semi-final first leg, dominating possession and putting relentless pressure on the Chennaiyin defense. Nonetheless, both the teams headed into the halftime break without breaking the 0-0 deadlock as they had missed quite a few chances.
However, in the 64th minute, Goa's top-scorers Manuel Lanzarote (18) and Ferran Corominas (13) combined to give the hosts the lead. Chennaiyin responded immediately by scoring the all-important equalizer through substitute Anirudh Thapa, just seven minutes after conceding the goal.
Lobera will once again bank on his Spanish duo of Lanzarote and Corominas to do the job at the "Marina Arena" where they had clinched a comprehensive 3-2 win in November 2017.
Custodian Laxmikant Kattimani's performance in Margao after he had replaced suspended Naveen Kumar should also give the Spanish tactician a lot of confidence ahead of the second-leg tie.
Coach Gregory backs Jeje to end the scoring drought
Meanwhile, Chennaiyin will be hoping for a better show from their forward Jeje Lalpekhlua, who had come up with an underwhelming performance on Saturday.
Coach Gregory though has backed Jeje, who has not scored for Chennaiyin in their last seven matches, to deliver on the big stage Tuesday.
"We are supporting him to deliver. I have huge faith in him. He has won many matches for us out of nowhere and we believe in him. He has this ability to score at any given stage. He has gone through phases like this and may be we need to provide him scoring chances," Gregory said, as quoted by IANS.
Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa: Start time, live stream information
The semi-final second leg between Chennaiyin and Goa will start at 8 pm IST, 2:30pm GMT.
TV Channel: Star Sports 2/HD 2, Star Sports Hindi, Star Sports Tamil.
Live stream: Hotstar