The Kerala Blasters were supreme and unstoppable in the semifinal first leg of the Indian Super League on Saturday, finding their goalscoring mojo in style to put Chennaiyin FC, the team that finished top of the league, to the sword.
It was almost as if the Kerala Blasters wanted to reward their outstanding crowd in their final home game of the season with the kind of performance they can hang onto until the ISL comes rolling again to Kochi next year, with Ishfaq Ahmed and Iain Hume putting the Sachin-Tendulkar owned team ahead in the first half, before Sushant Mathew scored one of the goals of the season right at the end.
Enough cannot be said about that performance from Kerala against a seriously formidable Chennaiyin side, but they will also know that none of that will matter if they don't stand up to the test in Chennai in the second leg of the semifinal on Tuesday.
"You have to approach the game positively," said assistant coach Trevor Morgan when asked if his team would go into the second leg looking for a draw. "We won't go into the game thinking we are three goals up. Football is not like that.
"We will go into the game as if the score is 0-0. This is important because teams have come back from three goals down. Chennai is a good team and we need to prepare for a tough game on Tuesday."
Kerala Blasters manager David James and Morgan will again ponder on playing both Hume, who has been their outstanding attacking player this season, and Michael Chopra from the start, with the duo, according to Morgan, combining well up front in the first leg.
"Hume and Michael are experienced players," added Morgan. "Hume is dynamic and energetic whereas Michael picks up good positions, has a good understanding of the game and a brilliant first touch. The combination worked well [in the first leg] and only time will tell if it will work in the next game as well."
A 3-0 lead would have been just about as good as they could have hoped for going into this second leg, and the onus will completely be on Chennaiyin to try and overturn that big deficit in front of their own home crowd.
All manager Marco Materazzi can do is instil the belief in his players that they can come back from 3-0 down.
"It will be very difficult but we believe we can do it," said Materazzi. "The first half will be very important because if we can get a goal or two, we will put Kerala Blasters under pressure."
Indeed, the opening goal will be the most important – if Chennaiyin score in the first 15-20 minutes, then it could be game on, but if the Kerala Blasters score the first goal, then it will be game over.
Where to Watch Live
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The second leg of the first Indian Super League semifinal is scheduled for a 7 pm IST (1.30 pm GMT, 8.30 am ET) start with live coverage in India on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2,Star Sports 3, Star Gold, Asianet Movies, Suvarna Channel, Jalsha Movies and a lot more channels. Viewers can also watch the ISL semi via free live streaming online on Starsports.com.
South Africa and Sub Saharan Africa audience can catch the ISL semifinals econd leg live on SuperSport or their online option. Viewers in Australia can catch the game live on Fox Sports or also via their live video option online. Middle East and North Africa viewers can watch the match between Chenniayin and Kerala blasters on Bein Sports or via live streaming on Bein Sports Connect.