The first semi-final of the Hero Indian Super Cup will pit two giants from two major Indian footballing leagues. A match which promises plenty of drama and goals, we take a look at three things to expect from the encounter at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
3. East Bengal's Woes
East Bengal barely managed to get the better of Aizawl FC in the previous round. They couldn't manage to play between Aizawl's lines and rarely created anything troubling for the opposition.
Moreover, Dudu Omagbemi was racially abused by a section of the fans, and the striker's retaliation could trigger a response from the supporters of the club. The Red and Golds need all of their fans right behind them for tonight's clash, but under current circumstances, it looks like an improbable dream.
2. A Depleted FC Goa
In Hero Indian Super League, FC Goa looked to play the best brand of free flowing football. Their ideology was based on outscoring the opposition, and we expected to see more of the same throughout the Super Cup as well.
The quarter-final clash with Jamshedpur FC, however, has affected the team badly. They will miss five key players through suspension following a bust-up in the tunnel at half time, which definitely will shift their style of play. They came into the tournament with 23 players, four of them are injured and now with 5 players out, it will be interesting see how they line up against East Bengal.
1. East Bengal to Nick it
The tournament is of supreme importance for both the teams and it would have been very difficult to call a winner under normal circumstances. However, considering Goa's sorry state, they don't look to be in any shape to compete against the Bengal juggernauts.
East Bengal, too, are struggling with a number of problems and would need to sort them out to dominate proceedings, but taking a glance at both the sides, the scales are certainly tipped in favour of the Red and Golds.