Jamil revved up ahead of second leg against ATK Mohun Bagan, expects it to be an open game

The second leg of Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2020-21’s Semi-final 2 will see ATK Mohun Bagan take on NorthEast United FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Tuesday. A late Idrissa Sylla goal had secured a 1-1 draw for the Highlanders against the Mariners in the first leg. Speaking at the pre-match press conference, NorthEast United FC interim head coach Khalid Jamil said he has high hopes for his players.

“The players are motivated and they have been doing a great job so far. I am sure if they continue the same, we will go the distance and even if we don’t there is nothing to be ashamed about. They have made everyone proud and that’s the important thing.”

Ahead of the all-important tie, the 43-year-old revealed that he has advised his players to enjoy the pressure. “There is always pressure but I have told the boys to enjoy this pressure. Both teams have to fight for a result because of no away goals [rule] …So I am expecting this match to be an open game,” he said.

Jamil is of the opinion that given their recent results against the Mariners, their opponents do not hold any kind of psychological advantage over NorthEast United FC. “If you see so far, we have played thrice against them and have lost one, won one and drawn one, so I would not consider them having any competitive edge over us,” he said.

He also believes that his team has the tactical nous to tackle whatever plans their opponents may have in mind. “They have their planning and we have ours. We have shown in our last two encounters with them that we can adapt our game to match theirs …We will give our best tomorrow,” he said.

“We will have to create more scoring opportunities and put them under pressure. One team will have to outscore the other in this one as a draw will create the added load of 30 minutes [of extra time],” he added. 

The Highlanders were unable to create too many chances in the first leg. However, Jamil is not thinking about their last result and is only concentrating on getting a positive result from Tuesday’s match. “We are not thinking about the last game. This match will be like an eliminator and we know that the winner of this match will earn a place in the final. This is good motivation for the boys,” he said.

The winners of the second semi-final will play Mumbai City FC in the final who beat FC Goa 6-5 on penalties on Monday night.


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