Mumbai, Mar 13 : The Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has often thrown surprise finalists.
The play-offs can go either way but as FC Goa sealed a place in the final with an emphatic 5-2 aggregate triumph over Mumbai City FC, fans will finally get the opportunity to witness a final they so desperately wanted to watch last season.
There is little doubt that Bengaluru FC and FC Goa are the two best teams in the ISL at the moment. They were the most attractive and followed teams last season too, but a final that everyone prayed for was not possible as Goa were knocked out by Chennaiyin FC. This time, with Bengaluru FC overcoming the odds in the second leg against NorthEast United, the final is a dream for all neutrals.
Lobera’s Goa against Carles Cuadrat’s Bengaluru FC promises to be a blockbuster of a grand finale with the league’s two most attack-oriented teams set to go head-to-head in the pressure cooker of a knockout clash.
“I think after 180 minutes, whoever is in the final is because they deserve to be there. Both teams have done well all through the season and in the final we can show the supporters a great show and hopefully we can bring back the trophy,” said Lobera.
Neither Bengaluru nor Goa have won the ISL trophy, so both club will be extra motivated to emerge triumphant.
"All the finals are special. There is a lot of tension. We are going to stick to our plan and be ready physically and mentally. In football, a lot of things happen that change the game,” said Cuadrat.
Finishing top-two at the end of the league stage and only separated by the head-to-head record, Bengaluru and Goa have inarguably been the best two teams on show.
While Goa have blown away plenty of opposition enroute to scoring a staggering 42 goals in the league stage this year, Bengaluru have not been far behind with 35 to their credit.
Attacking principles have been at the core of both teams with coaches insisting on playing on the front foot. While many teams have employed a counter-attacking and defensive approach, the Gaurs and the Blues have been all about the attack.
The fact that the ISL final will be staged at neutral venue (Mumbai) should only add to the spectacle with both sides expected to generate plenty of support. Co-incidentally, it was Mumbai which played host to the last final at a neutral venue during the inaugural edition in 2014.
It was the final the neutrals would have wanted and it is the final they are getting, at a neutral venue to boot. So much of a dream. (UNI)