Key battles to watch out for in FC Goa-Mumbai City FC first-leg semi-final

The first leg of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21’s Semi-final 1 will see Mumbai City FC face off against FC Goa at the Fatorda Stadium on Friday. Both teams love to keep possession when they build up their attack, making it a match where there dull moments will be banished to anonymity, be rest assured. Both teams have a number of talented players who will give their everything to win the three points and take early advantage in the two-legged match-up, and here, we take a look at some of the key battles that could dictate the outcome of the match between two these two sides who swear by expansive football.

Igor Angulo vs Bartholomew Ogbeche

Two strikers with lethal finishing touch take on each other in the first leg of Semi-final 1. Igor Angulo has scored 13 goals this season, including one in the 3-3 draw between the two sides in February. His last goal came in their 2-1 win over Bengaluru FC, and the Spanish forward will be looking to shift into top gear against the Islanders and avenge the defeat earlier in the season. Bartholomew Ogbeche is in fine form as well with three goals in his last two games for Mumbai City FC. The Nigerian scored a brace during the Islanders’ 6-1 win over Odisha FC, before helping his team to the summit of the standings by scoring Mumbai City FC’s second goal in a 2-0 win over ATK Mohun Bagan. Ogbeche also has prior experience of playing in a Hero ISL semi-final, with NorthEast United FC in 2018-19, which means he won’t be overawed by the occasion.

Edu Bedia vs Ahmed Jahouh

Former team-mates Edu Bedia and Ahmed Jahouh’s battle in the midfield will be integral to either team’s success. Bedia has been a mainstay in the FC Goa midfield this season, and his passing ability is only comparable to that of the Moroccan midfielder. The Gaurs midfielder averages 74.72 passes per match, slightly behind Jahouh who leads the line with 75.41 passes per match, including 111 passes against Odisha FC in the Islanders’ penultimate match of the league stage. Both players act as a link-up between their team’s defence and attack, and their set-piece delivery is a valuable asset as well. Since both teams play possession-based football, their performance can go a long way towards deciding who comes out on top in the first leg.

Hugo Boumous vs Jorge Ortiz

Both players have been missing in action for their respective teams of late but will look to have an immediate impact on their return on Friday. While Hugo Boumous was suspended for the Islanders’ last four matches, Jorge Ortiz has not played FC Goa’s last two matches because of injury. The Spanish winger has seven goal contributions (6 goals and 1 assist), two less than Boumous, who has two goals and seven assists this season. Ortiz’s creativity will be key to FC Goa’s performance, with Alberto Noguera suspended for this match. At the other end, Mumbai City FC have lacked a little bit of creativity going forward in the absence of Boumous and his return will surely be a massive boost.

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