The Grand Finale of the Indian Super League 2015 featuring FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC is less than 24 hours away.
FC Goa head into the final of ISL 2015 on the back of an emphatic 3-1 aggregate win over the Delhi Dynamos in the semi finals of the tournament. Zico’s men showed great character in turning around a 1-0 deficit from the first leg to seal a place in the final.
Chennaiyin FC, on the other hand, virtually sealed their place in the final of the tournament after registering a convincing 3-0 first leg win over Atletico de Kolkata. Although they lost 2-1 to Kolkata in the 2nd leg of the semi final, a 4-2 aggregate score sealed their place in the Grand Finale of the tournament.
We asked TheHardTackle team to give their predictions ahead of the much anticipated clash between these two great rivals at Goa’s Fatorda stadium.
Rahul Bhutani: FC Goa 2-1 Chennaiyin FC
Hosts FC Goa start as favourites to win the second season of the Indian Super League having topped the table in the group stages. Zico’ s presence in the dugout hands Guars a definitive advantage as the experienced Brazilian is widely traveled as compared to his Italian counterpart Marco Materazzi and his tactical acumen could prove to be the difference in this match between two well settled teams. His calm composure and confidence despite the loss in the first leg to Delhi Dynamos was crucial in ensuring FC Goa’s passage to the finals. Absence of Raphael Augusto due to an injury could hand advantage to Jofre and Moura to exploit the spaces in the Chennaiyin midfield. In addition, a vociferous crowd is expected to gather at the Fatorda stadium to cheer the Guars and the crowd support is expected to lead FC Goa to a well deserved victory.
Soumo Ghosh: FC Goa 2-2 Chennaiyin FC* (AET)
This is Chennaiyina s year. With the floods wrecking havoc in their home town, Marco Materazzi and his men are more determined than ever to win this seasona s ISL at all costs. The Italian knows a thing or two about winning tough games and will pass that knowledge on to his team, who could just do it in front of the home crowd. A 2-2 after extra time is my prediction with Chennaiyin FC going on to eventually win it on penalties.
Prem: FC Goa 1-2 Chennaiyin FC
I hate to break the anticlimax for all the fans, but this could well be Mourinho-esque display from both teams, particularly from the away side. Two reasons exemplify the above logic – 1) The final is held in Goa, which clearly Gives FC Goa the upper hand. 2) The occasion is such, that Materazzi would be reluctant to push men forward, like he was in the first half of their last group game against Pune. However, although the match is expected to be a cagey affair for most part of it, FC Goa will be the side that will take a risk here and there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the match goes into extra time with a 1-1 scoreline. Chennaiyin FC, look the better team in terms of their disciplined shape and sharpness in attack, and they also have a certain Steven Mendoza who has been in the form of his life this season. I think it’s going to be a tight and hard fought battle, but Chennaiyin FC will edge it 2-1.
Rakshit: FC Goa 3-1 Chennaiyin FC
Apart from the odd blip here and there, Zico’s FC Goa side have been the dominant team of the tournament. After a disappointing end to last year’s campaign, a reinvigorated FC Goa clinched top spot in the league table with 25 points from 14 matches. Marco Materazzi’s Chennaiyin FC sneaked into the semi finals of the tournament in the penultimate match of the league stages after registering a 1-0 away win over FC Pune City. An inconsistent campaign under Marco Materazzi has contributed towards freak results for Chennaiyin FC throughout the tournament – one of them being a 4-0 away win against FC Goa. One gets the feeling that Chennaiyin FC are heading into the final of the tournament with the right momentum and look poised to put in a strong showing against Zico’s men. However, Fatorda stadium’s cauldron like atmosphere, FC Goa’s home form and Zico’s tactical acumen will ensure a 2 goal margin of victory for the Gaurs. A 3-1 FC Goa win is my prediction.
Ashlesh: FC Goa 0-2 Chennaiyin FC
The ISL final will be most likely to be entertaining affair in jam packed Fatorda stadium in Goa. Goan fans are known to make it hostile for opponents but they will be against a team that has never buckled under Fatorda pressure. Chennaiyin FC have a slight advantage since they have upper hand in Goa against FC Goa and they would look to continue their run against home side. Adel Bete could be the difference between both sides as the custodian has been in superb form for the side form Tamil Nadu. A win for The Super Machans is on the cards.