The shield winners of 2020 and 2021, Goa and Mumbai will kick off the playoffs with a first leg semifinal in Indian Football League 2020-21.
Match Timings: Mar 05, 7:30 PM IST
Indian Football League 2020-21 enters in the playoff stage and four teams will fight out in the two-legged semifinals. Tournament’s shield winner and league champions, Mumbai will now eye maiden Indian Football League trophy. Islanders and Gaurs will take on each other in the first leg semifinal. Mumbai bounced back in its last two games to snatch the AFC Champions League qualification and the shield trophy from the Mariners. They defeated Odisha 6-1 to earn the joint-biggest victory for the club and bettered the goal-difference with Habas’ men. Kolkata giants required a draw on Sunday and Mumbai needed a win to book their place in AFC Champions League. Mourtada Fall scored the opening goal in the 7th minute through a cracking Ahmed Jahouh free-kick.
Mariners tried to get an equaliser but Mumbai’s defense kept Marcelinho and Roy Krishna silent. Just before the cooling break, Jahouh delivered a decent long ball for Pranjal, but he struck the ball just over the post. Islanders doubled the lead with another goal and this time, Bartholomew Ogbeche found his name on the scoresheet. Habas’ men tried hard to pull off any comeback in the second half but Sergio Lobero maintained their defense tight and walked away with full three points. Mumbai defeated Mariners on goal-difference and clinched the maiden trophy. They have been a top-class unit this year and Sergio Lobero put his heart into this team. Mumbai have scored 35 goals in the league-stage, most by any team and they conceded just 18 to have the best goal-difference amongst all teams.
Meanwhile, Goa won the shield trophy last season but they lacked in the playoffs. Gaurs were supposed to finish at third but they failed to win their last game against Hyderabad. Goa’s campaign has been terrific but not better than 2019-20. Gaurs lost only three games this season and this is the joint least defeat margin by any team this season along with Northeast and Hyderabad. They required a draw or win in the last game to avoid elimination and they focused more on draw which can question Goa’s strategy. The hosts played 10 draws out of 20 games, It means, they shared the spoils in half of their games this season. Only Chennai and Hyderabad have played more draws than Goa in 2020-21. Goa has a lot to gain this year. After the playoffs, the club will play its maiden AFC Champions League in April.
Goa and Mumbai faced twice in 2020-21. In the first game, Mumbai surprised Goa 1-0 with Adam le Fondre’s injury-time strike. The second game was more intense and both sides settled for a draw. Ishan Pandita netted an injury-time goal to hold Mumbai for a 3-3 draw. If we calculate the aggregate number, Mumbai had the laugh with 4-3 in league-stage. Goa are unbeaten from the last 13 matches but can they stop Sergio Lobero in the semifinals? All answers will unfold on March 5 and the next game will be played on March 8.
Possible Lineups & Current Form
Dheeraj Sing; Ivan Gonzalez, James Donachie, Adil Khan, Saviour Gama, Edu Bedia (C), Glan Martins, Alberto Noguera, Alexander Jesuraj, Redeem Tlang, Igor Angulo
Current Form: D W W D D
Previous Match: goalless draw with Hyderabad
Amrinder Singh; Amey Ranawade, Mandar Rao Dessai, Mourtada Fall, Bipin Singh, Ahmed Jahouh, Hernan Santana, Raynier Fernandes, Pranjal Bhumij, Bartholomew Ogbeche, Adam Le Fondre
Current Form: W W L L D
Previous Match: 2-0 victory against Mohun B.
13 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
7 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
Adam le Fondre
11 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21
8 goals in Indian Football League 2020-21