ISL Semi-finals: Mohun Bagan Super Giant and FC Goa Gear Up for Epic Comebacks


The first legs of the two semi-finals of the ongoing Indian Super League (ISL) are done and dusted, with Odisha FC (OFC) and Mumbai City FC (MCFC) coming out victorious. A huge task awaits both Mohun Bagan Super Giant (MBSG) and FC Goa (FCG) in the second legs. Although MBSG will play at their home ground, Yuvabharati Stadium, on April 28, trailing 2-1, the Gaurs have to play the Islanders in Mumbai on April 29, having squander a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 on home turf.

Odisha FC vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant

1st Leg

  • Both the goals that Mohun Bagan conceded could have been prevented with a better defensive display. For the first Odisha goal, Vishal Kaith clearly misjudged the inswinging delivery from Ahmed Jahouh, and both Subhasish Bose and Joni Kauko failed to mark Carlos Delgado, who scored with ease.
  • For Roy Krishna’s goal, Hector Yuste was caught napping and the Odisha forward took advantage and nutmegged Kaith to find the back of the net.
  • Both Delgado for Odisha and Armando Sadiku for Mohun Bagan will not be available in the 2nd leg after receiving red cards.
  • Manvir scored the only goal for the Kolkata giants and that too from a set-piece. Prolific and in-form players like Dimi Petratos, Sadiku, and Jason Cummings failed to penetrate the final third despite creating a lot of chances.
Odisha FC vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant, 1st Leg
Odisha FC vs Mohun Bagan Super Giant, 1st Leg (PC: ISL/X)

In an away fixture, teams are always expected to keep their shape and stay compact to avoid conceding goals. But Antonio Lopez Habas, Bagan’s coach, came out with a counter-attacking approach and that might have provided some more spaces for Sergio Lobera’s team to expploit.

Now, in the 2nd leg in Kolkata, Mohun Bagan will bank on the support from the massive home crowd that turned up for the Mumbai clash in the league phase. Interestingly, since Habas’ arrival, the Green-and-Maroon brigade have lost only one match at Yuvabharati in seven games (5 wins, 1 draw). They have scored a minimum of two goals in each of these matches.

At the post-match press conference, Habas also talked about individual mistakes that cost them but assured fans that there was a possibility of changing the scoreline in Kolkata. “Too much individual mistakes, one individual mistake, another individual mistake, and another individual mistake,” he said. “And this made it very difficult to organise the team collectively. I think that we have the possibility to change the score in Kolkata and qualify for the final.” 

This might motivate the players and give a lot of hope to the fans. But when it comes to Odisha, they have performed extremely well at this venue this season. In an AFC Cup tie, Lobera’s men thrashed MBSG 5-2 and in the ISL fixture, it was a 2-2 draw. An enthralling battle is on the cards.    

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FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC

1st Leg

  • Boris Singh’s calm and composed finish helped the Gaurs take a 1-0 lead and Brandon Fernandes, the FC Goa skipper, continues to score stunners.
  • But in added-on time at the end of the second half, Mumbai City’s continue pressure produced results. Within six minutes, they scored three unanswered goals to win the game 3-2.
  • Huge credit to Mumbai’s players and manager, Petr Kratky, for a never-say-die attitude. In the last league phase game against Mohun Bagan also, they managed to score a goal in the dying minutes and created a lot of chances to make it 2-2 before the final whistle.
  • Lallianzuala Chhangte is in a red-hot form, as he has been scoring goals, and creating chances along with skilful dribbles throughout the game.
  • Jayesh Rane has been producing some outrageous performances from the midfield in a consistent manner.
  • The Gaurs created nine goal-scoring chances while attempting 12 shots, but failed to put the game to the bed with a third goal.
FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC, 1st Leg
FC Goa vs Mumbai City FC, 1st Leg (PC: ISL/X)

In the league clash in Mumbai, it was a 1-1 draw between these sides. During the first leg, the FC Goa players might have struggled to keep up their intensity till the final whistle and Kratky’s team duly took advantage. Goa’s defensive line looked clueless against those attacking threats.

Noah Sadaoui tried his best to make an impact but failed to do so, thanks to a solid defensive display from Mumbai players. Manolo Marquez, the Goa manager, sounded very disappointed at the post-match press conference. “We can concede one goal, this is football,” he said. “Mumbai City FC scored 2-1 in the 86th or 87th minute, the game has to finish 2-1. That’s all. But if you concede the 2-2 and then 2-3, it means that the team doesn’t have character. I told them and they know perfectly. With everyone, I am very angry and I am disappointed. But the summary is very easy. I cannot develop the character. You have (it) or you don’t have (it). You cannot train this. We played a very good game. I can say nothing in a bad way to the players, but only this (character).”

However, he also said that the way Mumbai’s players celebrated their victory did not impress him. “If I am a player today, I would be very angry (with) how Mumbai City FC celebrated the victory in our face,” he said. “They have to know there are still 90 minutes. I think that if you show the correct character, let’s see who will celebrate at the end of the game in Mumbai.”

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