First Leg Semi-Finals Recap

Playoff footy is finally here, and the first leg of the semis did not disappoint. One matchup looks all but done, while the other is wide open heading into leg two. Here's how it all went down.

Andalusia FC   1   |   4   Hejaz FC

A matchup that featured one of the more intense battles throughout the season lived up to its billing. This game had that 'playoff intensity' you look for - it was chippy, it was aggressive and it featured some heated exchanges between the sides. The match started off 0-0 until just before the end of the half, when a pair of All-BISL 2nd teamers exchanged goals. Defender Hassan Chaudhry deposited his first playoff goal with the set-up by Shahrayar Khan, and young'n Fawad Akram 'Maradona'd' his way through the entire Andalusian side to score a goal for the ages. The game remained a close-knit affair for the first fifteen minutes of the second half, but the Spaniards just couldn't hold the three-pronged attack of Hejaz. Muhammad Shah put away the go-ahead goal with an assist by Fawad Akram, and the other Akram brother, Junaid, nabbed two quick goals to give Los Blancos a comfortable lead heading into the second leg. The scoreline doesn't do justice to the actual run of play - Andalusia was in it throughout the match, but the wheels just came off at the end. They find themselves down three goals heading into what could be the last 50 minutes of their season.

Anatolia FC   1   |   1   Jerusalem FC

The second match was a tight affair as well, as the rivalry between the sides‎ looked to write another chapter. The game was back-and-forth, with both teams not taking too many risks and aiming to play on the counter. It also featured both goalkeepers voted onto the All-BISL teams - Zahid Merchant and Umair Sheikh. The first half featured a few chances by Jerusalem that were impressively handled by Canary keeper Sheikh. Just before the halftime whistle, a mishandled ball by JFC led to a great chance for the Turks - the ball danced along the goal line but didn't cross, and both teams went scoreless into the half. The second half featured a few one-on-ones between Zain Khilji and Shaheen Limbada, but the veteran managed to keep the young superstar at bay. Limbada made an impact on the other side of the pitch with a beautifully taken goal set up by Atif Mian to put the Sky Blues up. That didn't last for long as the Yellows evened up the score when Nehad Shihab took a Taqi Ahmed pass and slotted it by Merchant on a tight angle. Both sides showed tired legs down the stretch and didn't muster up many more clear-cut chances, and they head into the second leg at 1-1. We also heard that post-game GM and keeper Zahid Merchant suffered some heavy swelling on his wrist after stopping a Nehad Shihab laser. The team awaits test results on what could be a huge loss for the post-season if Ziggy is out. We wish him well.

The second leg of the semis go next week, with one of Anatolia & Jerusalem breaking the current deadlock at 8:45 followed by Andalusia fighting for their season against Hejaz at 9:45.