Guwahati: A much-changed Chennaiyin FC will take on NorthEast United FC in the final Hero Indian Super League clash of the league phase at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium here on Tuesday.
Chennaiyin, who sealed qualification to the semis with a 1-0 away win at Mumbai City FC on Friday, will take on 9th placed NorthEast in what is a rearranged fixture from December.
With play-off qualification done and dusted, CFC Head Coach Owen Coyle is expected to make wholesale changes in the wake of the semi-final first leg in Chennai on Saturday, 29 February.
Furthermore, with Vishal Kaith, Lucian Goian, Rafael Crivellaro and Nerijus Valskis – all key players – on three yellow cards, Coyle will be taking no risks by fielding them. If any of them were to feature and pick up the fourth yellow card, they would be suspended for the first leg of the semis against either FC Goa or ATK.
A win over NorthEast would mean Chennaiyin finish third in the table above Bengaluru FC and thus face second-placed ATK in the semis. If not, CFC finishes fourth and play first placed FC Goa. Irrespective of the opponent, CFC will play their home leg first on Saturday.
The hosts NorthEast are also expected to be without suspended Federico Gallego, having dropped out of the top-four reckoning. But they will welcome back Jose Leudo, Redeem Tlang, Wayne Vaz and Rakesh Pradhan to the squad. Both teams are expected to name a number of youngsters in the starting lineup, with the likes of versatile defenders Deepak Tangri and
Reamsochung Aimol and forward Rahim Ali for the visitors. In goal, two-time ISL winner with CFC Karanjit Singh is expected to captain the team as was revealed by Head Coach Owen Coyle in the pre-match press conference.
The hosts have scored the least number of goals this season (14) while Chennaiyin is third in the list with 30. NEUFC can, however, take pride in the fact that CFC has won only once in Guwahati in the ISL. While the visitors will be aiming to change that with a youthful side.