ISL Semi-finals Discussion Thread

So I think we all knew this was coming... the official discussion thread for the semi-finals of the 2016 Indian Super League season! The final will of course get its own thread but for the semi-finals all four mouthwatering matches can be discussed here. The finals will consist of Mumbai City, Delhi Dynamos, Kerala Blasters, and Atletico de Kolkata and will begin on Saturday, 10 December and conclude on 14 December. It will be done in a two-legged format with 1st taking on 4th and 2nd taking on 3rd, meaning it will be Mumbai City vs. Atletico de Kolkata and Delhi Dynamos taking on Kerala Blasters.

Atletico de Kolkata will enter the finals as the only team to have reached this stage of the competition in all three seasons of the ISL, doing so despite being the "king of draws" and under a new head coach and playing in a smaller stadium. Delhi Dynamos and Kerala Blasters enter the finals for the second time in three seasons, Delhi for the second consecutive time while Kerala for the first time since 2014, after finishing 8th last season. Mumbai City are the new boys to this stage of the competition.

We start the semi-finals on Saturday at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in Kolkata as Atletico de Kolkata host Mumbai City. Jose Molina's side ended the regular season of the ISL with six games unbeaten, however, five of those matches were draws. They will need to change that to more wins now that they are in the finals. For Mumbai City, they are on a four match unbeaten run, ending their season with a 0-0 draw with Delhi Dynamos which was still exciting despite the scoreline. Before that they managed 2 victories at home, a 5-0 victory over Kerala Blasters and a 2-0 victory against Chennaiyin. Both matches between these sides have been decent. The first match in Mumbai ended 1-1 in October while the match in Kolkata ended 1-0 to Mumbai City at the end of October. The second leg in Mumbai will be on the 13th.

The second match up will start on Sunday at the Nehru Stadium in Kochi as Kerala Blasters host Delhi Dynamos. Kerala Blasters were the main winners in the second half of the season, despite two defeats. They won 4 of their last 7 matches and went from the bottom of the table to finishing second. The introduction of a certain C.K. Vineeth helped the side and Steve Coppell's men will be hoping to use their momentum, and over 54,000 fans, to get one over the red hot Delhi Dynamos. Zambrotta's side ended the season with a 0-0 draw to Mumbai City and a 2-1 defeat to NorthEast United but don't let that fool you. With guys like Marcelinho, Kean Lewis, Florent Malouda, and Richard Gadzie pulling the strings along with a healthy defense, you can bet they will give the Blasters a straight run for their money. The first match between these two on 9 October ended 0-0 in Kochi while the second match on 4 November ended 2-0 to Delhi Dynamos. The second leg in Delhi will occur on 14 December.

So there we have it. It should be a good week for the ISL, the final will take place in Kochi but who will make it. A lot of people would probably say Mumbai City and Delhi Dynamos but one can not also ignore Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters. Will Jose Molina and Steve Coppell come out against the odds or will the might of Alexandre's and Zambrotta's side be too much? Let's see for ourselves come Saturday in Kolkata.


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