Super Cup mania has started around India and the second qualifier to take place is between ISL side NorthEast United and I-League side Gokulam. Both are fighting for a place in the next round against ISL finalists Bengaluru, which isn’t the best draw for both of the qualifying sides. Anyway, I am sure it won’t be one to miss so let’s get straight to the stats, ahead of this qualifying game.
With NorthEast being the hosts, I’ll start with them. Avram Grant’s side finished bottom of the league in the ISL this season, they were pretty awful. Without a proper goalscorer, NorthEast only managed to score twelve goals across the eighteen-game season. Northeast didn’t help themselves defensively either, after letting in twenty-seven goals. This left them with a goal difference of –15 which is horrendous. With them struggling to score goals, their form heading into the Super Cup is dreadful, with them losing five of their previous five. NorthEast haven’t won a game in eight, with their last win coming in January against Chennaiyin. Will they finally break their horrid run in this new competition?
I-League side Gokulam, who are the visitors, ended up finishing 7th in the league and just missed out on automatic qualification by two points on the final day. It seems they have struggled for goals this season, after only managing seventeen over the eighteen-game season. Defensively, they have been better than NorthEast this season, only conceding twenty-three goals. This left them with a better goal difference than their opponents, with the exact figure being –6. Coming into the game, the I-League side is in decent form, winning two, drawing two and losing one of their previous five. Can they keep NorthEast winless streak alive?
Once again, I have to admit to not knowing a lot about the I-League. However, after doing some research, I feel like I have identified Gokulam’s best player. It seems to me that striker, Henry Kisekka, is their hitman after scoring four goals this season. It seems that they have a great team chemistry and everyone chips in, rather than a couple of individuals taking over.
I know a lot more about NorthEast, however, I do not know the squad they have at their disposal; however, I assume it’s pretty much their ISL squad. With that in mind, they do have a few decent players. One that comes to mind is Doungel, who can find the net on occasion but can also play well in other areas. However, my Key Player is Marcinho, he can score, assist and the play just flows through him. He will need to step up for the competition if NorthEast want to make decent progress.
Hopefully, NorthEast come through the game as winners and we have another ISL side in the next round. However, I cannot see it happening. Due to league position and statistics, Gokulam are the best I-League side in the qualification stage and they have form on their side.
I can see the game being a decent game, not a brilliant one, but a decent one, with Gokulam progressing to the next round via a 3-1 win over NorthEast. I can see the I-League side dominating the game and NorthEast struggling to get anything going. Another question to arise about the ISL side is the fact that we don’t know if Grant will be in charge for much longer. I can’t see him staying if they lose to Gokulam and that isn’t a good thing for NorthEast or the ISL.