Indian Super League (ISL) champions Chennaiyin FC and Aizawl FC are set to kick-off the pre-quarter-finals of the 2018 Super Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, on Saturday evening.
|Game||Chennaiyin FC v Aizawl FC|
|Date||Saturday, March 31|
|Time||5:00 PM IST (GMT +5:30)|
TV CHANNELS & LIVE STREAM
The Star Sports Network have the exclusive broadcasting rights of the Super Cup. The games will be telecast with the option of English and/or Hindi commentary over their bouquet of television as well as digital platforms.
|India (English) TV channel||Online streams|
|Star Sports 2/2 HD||Hotstar and Jio TV|
Predicted XI: Pawan Kumar (GK); Keenan Almeida, Mailson Alves, Dhanachandra Singh, Jerry Lalrinzuala; Dhanapal Ganesh, Jaime Gavilan; Francis Fernandes, Raphael Augusto, Jude Nworuh; Mohammed Rafi.
Injured: Germanpreet Singh
Doubtful: Jeje Lalpekhlua, Karanjit Singh
Key Players: Raphael Augusto, Mailson Alves
Predicted XI: Avilash Paul (GK); Laldinliana Renthlei, Masih Saighani, Lalchhawnkima, Lalram Hmunmawia; Alfred Jaryan, David Lalrinmuana; Albert Zohmingmawia, Andrei Ionescu, Leonce Dodoz; Lalkhawpuimaiwa.
Key Players: Masih Saighani, Andrei Ionescu
The first of the All India Football Federation (AIFF)'s inaugural Super Cup Round of 16 match sees freshly crowned ISL champions Chennaiyin FC square off against last season's I-League winners Aizawl FC.
Chennaiyin will almost not have their any of their core performers in the game, opening avenues for fringe players to impress head coach John Gregory. The Machans have registered only four foreigners viz. Mailson Alves, Jaime Gavilan, Jude Nworuh and Raphael Augusto.
Keenan Almeida will take the ever-present Inigo Calderon's place at right back. Dhanchandra Singh and Fulganco Cardozo will be included in the matchday squad. Jaime Gavilan will have a chance to marshal the midfield while Mohammed Rafi will be entrusted with the job of scoring goals given Jeje Lalpekhlua's absence.
Goalkeeper Karanjit Singh too might be given time off while Gregory will take a late call on the pair of Jerry Lalrinzuala and Anirrudh Thapa who played for India against the Kyrgyz Republic this Tuesday. All in all, it will be a good opportunity to test the Indian contingent.
For Santosh Kashyap and his Aizawl side, finishing outside the top-four in the I-League only intensifies the need to progress further in the knock-out competition. It will be a good opportunity for the foreigners who did well this season to prove themselves all over against an ISL opponent.
Chennaiyin will have to look out for Andrei Ionescu's playmaking skills and set-piece ability besides David Lalrinmuana. Afghan defender Masih Saighani has held fort fairly well through the league despite the absence of the injured Kareem Omolaja Nurain. Lalchhawnkima, on-loan from Mumbai City FC has proved to be a great replacement.
Involvement in Asian competitions this season has also helped the Reds attain exposure to a better quality of opposition and it will be up to the Mizoram-based side to make use of all their experiences in a make or break tie.
Who shall be the first team to make it to the quarter-finals?