1. Best defence to contain the best attack
With the likes of Rafael Coelho, Reinaldo, Mandar Rao Desai and Romeo Fernandes in attack, FC Goa have a legion of goal scorers. This lethal attack has scored 32 goals in 16 games – highest in the league - 26 of which have arrived in the last 10. Behind this deadly attack, they have the highest assist-maker (8) in the league – Leo Moura.
However, Goa will face a defence which has conceded the least number of goals in the league. Chennaiyin have shipped in just 17 goals in their 16 games so far, of which five have arrived from penalties. After a shaky start to their campaign, Marco Materazzi has tightened up the back four, and they have conceded just five goals in their last eight games – during which period they have also kept five clean sheets.
Goa will find it hard to break down the organized Chennaiyin defence, who are likely to be strengthened by the return of Raphael Augusto in the midfield.
2. Chennaiyin to exploit the space behind the Goa wingbacks
Zico has relied on the 3-5-2 formation during the second half of the tournament. While this tactic has made them more potent in attack, teams have often exploited the space left behind by the wingbacks. Chennaiyin on the other hand will play with a front three, and in Stiven Mendoza and Jeje Lalpekhlua they have pace to burn.
Both Mendoza and Jeje have the tendency to move out wide to the wings and look to run in behind opponent's defence. Bruno Pelissari, who is likely to replace Elano in the starting line-up, has the vision to pick out the two wide forwards with long balls over the top. Goa center-backs Lucio and Gregory Arnolin, do not have the pace to contain Mendoza and Jeje, and Chennaiyin will have a lot of opportunities on counter-attacks tonight.
3. Leo Moura and Jofre v Thoi Singh and Harmanjot Khabra
Moura and Jofre will pull all the strings in the final third for Goa, and Materazzi will have a plan to stop them from doing so. While Raphael Augusto's presence in the midfield is doubtful due to his fitness concern, the Italian manager has the option of two of his most energetic and industrious midfielders – Thoi Singh and Khabra.
The Indian duo can tirelessly run up and down the pitch in the role of a box-to-box midfielder, although Khabra plays a much more subdued role. Materazzi will set them on Moura and Jofre to hassle them whenever they have possession. Their main aim will be to deny Moura and Jofre time and space on the ball, and if they succeed in doing so, it will hugely handicap Goa's chances of lifting the trophy tonight.