Adapting strategies to tackle same old rivals: The key takeaways from semi-finals so far

After two nail-biting semi-finals first leg of the contests in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), there are a lot of talking points that have grabbed the attention.

From deploying new strategies to adapting to tough opponents to take them down. Here are the key takeaways from the two semi-final bouts:

Compact start, fiery finish

It was a game of two halves between Hyderabad FC and ATK Mohun Bagan. In the second semi-final’s first half, Hyderabad FC were seen prancing quietly till the verge. They were compact, clear in strategy and well-positioned to turn things around on their head to bounce back in the lead once ATK Mohun Bagan started to show cracks in their defence.

Lacking finisher

Jamshedpur FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, the one’s who lost the first leg of their semi-finals, both had floury of attempted shots but when it counted, they could not breach the defence. One such instance was when Jamshedpur FC’s super-sub Ishan Pandita arrived in the dying minutes of the game, Coyle’s final ploy to restore parity, got his chance. In the 89th minute, the Men of Steel were awarded a free-kick and Alex Lima slotted it to the far post and Pandita, getting a volley, as it went off target.

Jamshedpur FC had 12 crosses come in as opposed to Kerala Blasters FC’s four. On the other hand, ATK Mohun Bagan had 11 crosses, successfully converting one.

Flexibility and adaptability gets rewarded

Hyderabad FC have managed to push their full-backs to take up offensive roles that has seen opponents getting overwhelmed with Akash Mishra leading the way despite Asish Rai’s absence. The contributions have come from mid-field too for them in Yasir Mohammad who proved a difference-maker. He scored his first Hero ISL goal and provided an assist.

Open play dependence

So far, there has only been one goal scored via set-piece out of the five goals in the two semi-final legs. ATK Mohun Bagan received nine corners – the most any team has gotten in the semi-finals. Meanwhile, Jamshedpur FC got five corner opportunities, failing to convert any. 

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