ATK FC vs Chennaiyin FC
ATK FC vs Chennaiyin FC

Former champions Atlético de Kolkata (ATK) and Chennaiyin FC who face off will be looking for the third titles, at the Nehru Stadium, Fatorda here on Saturday.

The COVID-19 pandemic, has forced this sixth edition finals behind the closed doors as the stadium will be without spectators, luckily for the host Goa, their team Goa FC are not in the recknoing for the crown. This is the second time that an ISL match will be played in an empty stadium after the league stage game between NorthEast United FC and Bengaluru FC was held behind closed doors in Guwahati in the wake of the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam.

The season has been a landmark one in many ways. While it has produced high quality football, the sport's governing body AIFF has granted ISL the top-tier domestic competition status.

The league phase winners of the ISL, FC Goa will become the first Indian side to directly play in the group stage of the AFC Champions League, the top club league of Asia.

ATK (2014 and 2016) and Chennaiyin (2015 and 2017-18) have both won the ISL twice already and are looking to become the first side to win it three times.

But, in an anti-climax of sort, there will be no spectators to witness the historic moment as the final will be played in front of an empty stadium. This is in line with a sports ministry directive to all national federations to follow the health ministry's advisory and avoid large gatherings in sports events.

The two teams were brilliant in the play-offs with Chennaiyin getting the better of FC Goa in a thrilling two-legged tie that finished 6-5 on aggregates, while ATK produced a second leg turnaround to send defending champions Bengaluru FC packing with a 3-2 win on aggregate.

This is the first time that these two clubs are meeting each other in the final. Interestingly, neither club has lost an ISL final, a run that will end for one of them on Saturday.

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