Both teams are starting with an almost clean slate and would look to look to put last season behind them.
Both the teams are entering this edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) with new managers at the helm and will be looking to get some rhythm going into the season. Both the teams, Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa had an abysmal season in the last year’s edition of the ISL, the poor performances were followed by a strong reaction from both the sides as they were on a mission to recoup their squad and come back stronger. Chennaiyin FC have a very good squad on paper and should their chemistry work out, they will definitely go a long way in this tournament. On the other hand, FC Goa will be looking to adapt to Sergio Lobera’s quick, short passing methods and should they adapt this style well and quickly into the season, they have the potential and the players to be contenders for the title.
John Gregory’s blues had a good showing in the ISL Draft 2017. They retained the likes of Jeje, Karanjit and Jerry and some of their big acquisitions in the draft were, Anirudh Thapa, Thoi Singh & Germanpreet Singh. They’ve also added some big foreign names. The likes of Raphael Augusto, Inigo Calderon and Mailson Alves put the team in a really strong position on paper. Germanpreet Singh has a knock and will miss out on this one.
The Goans poached on Narayan Das when it was their turn during the third round of the draft. Players such as Brandon Fernandes, Pranoy Halder and their retainers, Laxmikant Kattimani and Mandar Rao Desai, have set the team up in a good position. The Gaur’s foreign signings are dominated by the Spaniards as Sergio Lobera wants to incorporate the Spanish style of game play with FC Goa. Striker Adrian Colunga will be missing fir the Gaurs.
Both the teams have had a shift in their type of gameplay and it’ll be a completely tactical game from the first whistle. With John Gregory bringing in the flavour of the English and Sergio Lobero bringing the Spaniard’s style of play, it’ll be interesting to see who prevails in this match up.
Head to Head
The Marina Machans hold the upper-hand over The Gaurs. The sides have faced each other 7 times in which CFC have come out as winners 4 times and FCG 3 times.
Man To Watch
Raphael Augusto-Chennaiyin FC: The 26 year old Brazilian was the only source for inspiration last year in their underwhelming season. Raphael and Jeje is a deadly combo that we could be seeing a lot of times over the course of the season. His technical ability is one of the finest the league has seen and he packs a lot of punch in his shots and will certainly be the source for the goals for the Marina Machans.
Manuel Lanzarote-FC Goa: The ex-Barcelona Youth player flourishes running down the wings and making marauding runs by the line. He is a defender’s nightmare and his experience playing for Real Zaragoza in La Liga will add a lot of value to the team. He’s 33 but do not let the age fool you. The Spanish winger will look to make an instant impact for Sergio Lobero.
John Gregory: “We can expect Goa to play a very Spanish game. We have a rough idea of what their starting line-up will be, as we expect them to pick 11 of the 14 players we’ve earmarked. My boys will have a fair idea of Goa’s strengths and weaknesses and individual strengths and weaknesses. That said, I pay more attention to my side than I do about my opposition.”
Sergio Lobero: “I’ve been doubted if my philosophy would work and, when I managed Las Palmas in Spain, we nearly achieved promotion for the first time in 16 seasons. During my time with Moroccan outfit Moghreb Tetouan, we qualified for CAF Champions League for the first time in their history. That said, we have to adapt our style based off the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses. You don’t always need to stick to a particular style if you can ensure results.”
Chennayin FC: Karanjit, Jerry, Fulganco, Enrique, Inigo, Keenan, Bikramjit, Augusto, Dhanpal Mihelic Lalpekhlua.
FC Goa: Kattimani, Mandar, Pinheiro, Sana, Seriton, Bedia, Pranoy, Brandon, Lanzarote Arana, Corominas.
The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports 2 HD. The match will also be available for live streaming on Hotstar.