Chennaiyin look to make home advantage count in AFC Cup qualifiers second leg
Chennaiyin FC will look to seal their spot in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2019 when they host Colombo FC in the second leg of the qualifying play-off at The Arena by TransStadia Stadium in Ahmedabad on Wednesday. The Marina Machans come into this tie on the back of a 0-0 draw in the first leg last week.
Despite not coming away with an away goal from the first leg, Chennaiyin will be looking to make home advantage count to book a place in the main phase of the continental club tournament. While they failed to carve out any noteworthy chances, John Gregory’s side put up a resolute defensive front during the first leg in Colombo.
Playing on Indian soil, the 2017-18 Hero ISL champions will back themselves to come away with a victory. While a disappointing league campaign will still be fresh in their memories, a fine run in one of Asia’s biggest club competitions could go a long way towards salvaging some pride for Gregory and Co.
The Englishman is largely expected to play the same line-up as he deployed for the first leg. Eli Sabia and Mailson Alves will be charged with keeping Colombo FC's attacking personnel, while the trio of Anirudh Thapa, Isaac Vanmalasawma and Raphael Augusto will be tasked to run the match from the midfield. Gregory has Jeje Lalpekhlua and CK Vineeth to choose from in the striking department. Neither striker has enjoyed productive spells in the Hero ISL campaign and will be looking to make a mark for Chennaiyin on Wednesday.
Heading into the tie, Colombo FC will back themselves to cause an upset. Given that Chennaiyin failed to score in the first leg, a single away goal could prove detrimental in the fixture. The Sri Lankan side created a few decent chances against Chennaiyin in the first leg, but couldn't capitalize. However, the Sri Lankan team is perfectly capable of finding the net on their day as demonstrated by their 9-2 aggregate drubbing of Bhutan’s Transport United in the pre-qualifiers.