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Semi-Finals Leg #2 Rumours

We head into the second leg of the semis in anticipation of what the finals have in store. Will we have the third Hejaz-Jerusalem final in a row, or will Anatolia and Andalusia have a chance to pepper some fresh colour into this BISL history books? Though all that there is to say about these matchups has essentially been said, we head into the penultimate week of the season with more questions than answers. 
 
Anatolia FC vs. Jerusalem FC : 1-1 after First Leg (8:45PM on Field 3)
 
After a very tight-knit affair that saw both teams play conservative in hopes of catching the other on the break, we head into the second leg even at one goal apiece. However, expect a very different look from both sides. As has already been mentioned, Jerusalem are missing Omar Sheikh, as his status is uncertain for the remainder of the season. The team has encouraged him to rejoin the team for the finals if they get there but after a poor finishing display by the team last week, they desperately need him to advance. However, the bad news doesn’t stop there, as it has been confirmed that JFC Captain Zahid Merchant has suffered a hairline fracture in his wrist, and is currently nursing a hard cast. Though we do not expect Merchant to put the gloves on come Gameday, we may, just MAY see him lace up his boots for his first appearance in the outfield since 2015. On the other side, we have Anatolia not having Captain and MVP Candidate Zain Khilji in the side for the remaining weeks as he travels on a family trip to Pakistan. Knowing Khilji’s competitiveness, we truly cannot rule him out until he’s not there at kickoff. So though he says he will be in Lahore by the time the semis roll around, will he REALLY be in Lahore by the time the semis roll around? We’ll have to wait and see. Both teams will have to rely on stars Shaheen Limbada and Nehad Shihab to get through to the finals. Expect this game to remain cagey again, and whoever scores first will park the bus in hopes of holding the result for the big show next week.
 
Projected Starting VI: 
     Anatolia FC - U. Sheikh; M. Salman, T. Mirza; T. Ahmed, N. Shihab; K. Lotia
     Jerusalem FC - U. Wasim; A.Mian, M. Variava; S. Limbada, R. Ali; S. Dadabhoy

Andalusia FC vs. Hejaz FC : 1-4 after First Leg (9:45PM on Field 3)
 
If our games consisted of twenty minute halves, this one too would be dead even at 1-1 heading into the second leg. However, Andalusia, after tirelessly working to keep at a low goal tally just did not have enough gas in the tank to see it through. Hejaz put up three quick goals in the closing minutes of the match to take a commanding 4-1 lead heading into leg two. Though the front three of Akram, Shah and Akram will again receive plaudits for their ruthless display, it all starts with the defensive pairing of Omar Adil and Asif Ibn Rehana. Omar has been arguably the most complete defender in the league this year, shutting down opponents and confidently carrying the ball up field to allow the attacking starlets to stay deep in the opponent’s half. He has a perfect partner in Ibn Rehana who isn’t shy to mix it up and break up play, while also showing some crafty distribution with the ball at his feet. The two of them together have seamless chemistry that forces opposing forwards into compromising situations, and allows the front three attackers to focus on just that – attacking. Andalusia have been a low-scoring side in comparison to the other playoff teams, but they play a very fluid game that relies on movement and incisive playmaking. Zain Khan was welcomed into the mix last week after a long hiatus due to injury, and though there may have been some signs of rust, he’s amped and ready to go this week. If there’s one thing you can say about this year’s iteration of the Blues, is that they’re fighters. A lot of teams would look at a 3 goal deficit as daunting, but not these guys. They play with energy, are aggressive and have the will to win. We wouldn’t count them out just yet. Expect the Spaniards to come out blazing in the first ten minutes in hopes of a few quick goals. If Hejaz concede early, expect this game to really take form as the pressure will be on

Projected Starting VI:
     Andalusia FC - J. Mirza; H. Chaudhry, Z. Khan; S. Khan, H. Chaudhary; A. Chaudhry
     Hejaz FC - I. Sardar; O. Adil, A. Ibn Rehana; M. Shah, F. Akram; J. Akram

By 10:45PM on Sunday, only two teams will remain standing in the most competitive season in BISL to date – the next chapter awaits.