Both teams are looking for their first win of the season…
Defending champions Chennaiyin FC play host to Indian Super League 2015 finalists FC Goa on Thursday night at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium as they look to add to the latter’s misery.
After eking out a draw with former champions Atletico de Kolkata, Chennaiyin suffered a humiliating 3-1 loss at home to Delhi Dynamos. Sitting three points adrift of the playoff spots, they will look to register their first win of the campaign. Coach Marco Materazzi has come under scrutiny for Chennaiyin’s poor form, but he remains confident of bouncing back.
As for Goa, they have sustained the worst start in the league, losing against NorthEast United and Pune City. Sitting at the bottom of the ISL standings, they desperately need a win to get off the mark. Zico is optimistic about a revival but acknowledges lack of confidence as the reason behind their failure.
Chennaiyin have no injury concerns, with their Italian manager hinting at a potential return of Mohun Bagan left-back Dhanachandra Singh from injury. Should he be cleared to play, Nallapan Mohanraj, who has had a rocky start to the season, will drop to the bench. Davide Succi will hope to return to the starting line-up after seeing Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi struggle against Dynamos last time out.
As for the Gaurs, Zico refused to reveal team news although he stated that Subhasish Chowdhury would be handed a start should the opportunity arise. By the looks of things, under fire shot-stopper Laxmikant Kattimani will keep his place between the sticks.
Head to Head
Goa and Chennaiyin have locked horns with each other on five occasions, with their latest meeting coming in the Final of the last season. The Super Machans handed them a debilitating defeat on that night when they came from behind to register a 3-2 victory in the dying minutes.
Despite emerging victors in Goa twice, Chennaiyin are winless at home, with the Goans winning the other two games at Marina Arena. Chennaiyin will look to overcome the home game hoodoo on Thursday night.
Man to Watch
Raphael Augusto-Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin struggled going forward as Gianluca Zambrotta’s men produced a solid defensive performance last Thursday. Their defence looked equally frail as their fullbacks were often outrun by Kean Lewis and Marcelinho. The only bright spark was Raphael Augusto, who looked determined to make things tick even when the whole squad had given up. His passing ability and defensive contribution will be key to the home side’s fortunes tonight.
Rafael Coelho-FC Goa
Goa have been impressive going forward, with their midfielders creating chance after chance. However, they have been unable to find the back of the net, especially with the opposition goalkeepers producing excellent saves against them. Only Rafael Coelho has made the score sheet for Goa so far and he will need to be at his absolute best even to test Duwayne Kerr.
Chennaiyin FC: Kerr; Wadoo, Riise, Mendy, Singh; Mulder, Augusto, Sahni; Rane, Succi, Lalpekhlua
FC Goa: Kattimani; Gaikwad, Dumas, Lucio, Cardozo; Balmuchu, Desai, Goncalves, Jofre, Richarlyson; Coelho
The match will be telecast live on Star Sports 2, Star Sports HD2, Star Sports 1, Star Sports HD1, Star Gold, Star Gold HD, Jalsha Movies, Jalsha Movies HD, and Hotstar.
You can also follow Khel Now’s live text commentary of the game, with our ISL correspondent Praveen R. Paramasivam reporting things as they happen from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.