Goa to Host ISL Finals, for Chennaiyin FC and ATK

10 Mar 2020 03:06 PM

Chennaiyin FC and ATK will be gunning for their third title in the Hero Indian Super League and nobody will grudge them of a place in Sunday’s final at PJN stadium in Fatorda Goa. The job completed in the two-legged playoffs, by hook or by crook, both sides remained resolute when the tide seemed to be against them in the reverse leg. If Chennaiyin FC found themselves down 0-2 inside the first 20 minutes against FC Goa, ATK suffered an early reverse at home against defending champions Bengaluru FC. Still, they managed to turn the tables in their favour for a deserving place in the final.

In the first semifinal, Chennaiyin and FC Goa served up a goal-fest that produced 11 goals, with the former champions emerging triumphant 6-5 on aggregate. In fact, it is comfortably the highest-scoring play-off tie in the six-year history of ISL, and probably the most thrilling one as well.

It seemed the tie was well and truly finished when Chennaiyin FC pummelled FC Goa 4-1 at home in the first leg. However, Goa mounted a brilliant fight back at home and came within a goal of overturning the result when they were 2-0 up in the first half. But Owen Coyle’s men managed to score two away goals to almost secure the tie. Clifford Miranda’s men scored two late goals to ensure a nervous finish to the tie, with Chennaiyin emerging victorious.

ATK, on the other hand, had to launch a terrific fightback to reach their third ISL final.

They had been blunted in the first leg in Bengaluru with the defending champions winning 1-0. ATK found themselves on the back foot early in the second leg in Kolkata when Ashique Kuruniyan scored an away goal to double Bengaluru’s advantage. ATK had to score three times or wave their chances of reaching the final good-bye. Inspired by the likes of Prabir Das, David Williams, Roy Krishna and goalkeeper Arindam Bhattacharja, Antonio Habas’ men completed the turnaround to dump Bengaluru FC out. With the added advantage of an AFC Cup spot on offer for the winners of the summit clash, expect Chennaiyin FC and ATK to serve up another classic as they face-off in the final for the first time.

Desk: Clinton Dsouza

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