Chennaiyin sealed qualification in Mumbai last week, with a late Lucian Goian winner that gave them the luxury of being able to rest players in their last league stage against NorthEast United at Guwahati.
Goa, meanwhile, have been on a break since the 21st of February, when they made history in Jamshedpur by becoming the first Indian club to qualify for the group stages, in the current format of the AFC Champions League.
Both teams are in sensational form, with Chennaiyin unbeaten in 8 games - winning six of those - while Goa are on a five-match winning run. A win for Goa in the first leg will see them draw level with the 2018-19 Bengaluru FC side for the most consecutive wins in ISL history.
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa: Match Information
Date: 29th February 2020
Kickoff: 7:30 PM IST
Live Stream: Star Sports Network and Hotstar
Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa: Team News
Both teams have no unavailabilities due to suspensions, but both could miss a foreigner each in their squads. Andre Schembri picked up an injury in the warm-up before Chennaiyin played Mumbai City FC, and it is not yet clear whether the Maltese will be able to take the field on Saturday evening.
Otherwise, Chennaiyin have both a clean bill of health and a full squad available for selection. Dragos Firtulescu will start on the right-wing if Schembri isn't fit enough to make it, while the likes of Anirudh Thapa, Eli Sabia, Rafael Crivellaro, Goian and Nerijus Valskis will all start, after being left out of the squad against NorthEast.
Goa, on the other hand, will definitely miss the services of midfielder Edu Bedia, who has flown back to Spain to tend to a personal emergency, which means Goa will have only five foreigners to call upon.
But Bedia wasn't a regular starter this season, thanks to the unprecedented form that Hugo Boumous has shown, on his way to becoming the first-ever player to have double figures for both goals and assists in ISL history.
Goa are not expected to make any changes to their first-choice XI, which has been reinforced by the returns of Seriton Fernandes and Brandon Fernandes after suspension.
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa: Probable Lineups
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith, Laldinliana Renthlei, Eli Sabia, Lucian Goian, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Rafael Crivellaro, Andre Schembri, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nerijus Valskis
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Carlos Pena, Mandar Rao Desai, Ahmed Jahouh, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Brandon Fernandes, Ferran Corominas
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa: ISL Form Guide
Chennaiyin FC: D-W-W-D-W
FC Goa: W-W-W-W-W
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa Head-to-Head
The two sides have faced each other 16 times before (once in the Super Cup), and Goa are ahead in the head-to-head record with nine wins. More importantly, the Gaurs have beaten Chennaiyin in the last five games between the sides, scoring 13 goals and conceding five in the process.
In the two games in the league phase, Goa scored seven goals against Chennaiyin - including a dominant 3-0 win at Fatorda. The game at the Marina Arena, though, was madcap entertainment, as Chennaiyin somehow managed to stage a recovery from being 3-0 down at half-time, but they did end up losing 4-3.
Chennaiyin FC wins: 6
FC Goa wins: 9
Chennaiyin FC v FC Goa Prediction
The easiest prediction to make for this first leg is that it will be high scoring. Goa are well-rested, confident, and possess lethal goal-scorers in their ranks.
In Crivellaro and Valskis, Chennaiyin have their answer to Boumous and Coro as well, but we're going for the streak to continue for the Gaurs, and a win for them in a high-scoring encounter.
Prediction: Chennaiyin FC 2-4 FC GoaPublished 27 Feb 2020, 22:14 IST