The Goans secured a dramatic win down south against the Marina Machans in their opening game of the season.
FC Goa’s players have been on top of almost all of the statistics this season. The numbers that the Goan camp is producing has been impeccable and this is thanks to the Spaniard at the helm, Sergio Lobera. The kind of free-flowing football that he has made them play has been a joy to watch this Indian Super League and it showed in the first leg of the Semi-finals against John Gregory’s Chennaiyin.
FC Goa dominated in possession for the 90 minutes but their final ball was the undoing for them as it was almost always under hit or hugely over hit. Chennaiyin FC prove time and time again that their counter-attacking style of football is one of the most dangerous this season as Anirudh Thapa netted the equaliser in absolute style by powering it through Kattimani’s legs. They now enter the 2nd leg with an away goal advantage and a goalless draw could see them progress to the finals against Bengaluru or Pune.
The stakes are as high as ever as both teams will want to reach the finals of this competition after a long graft for 5 months. Both the teams have responded brilliantly to how they performed last season and have taken huge strides to get where they are now. Both the managers have come in and done a lot of work to the team and will want a chance at a silverware to have something to show for.
FC Goa have a hill to climb in this game because of the away goal rule. They are at a disadvantage and Chennaiyin FC will be more than happy to settle for a 0-0 draw. The Goa based outfit will need to watch out for the quick fast breaks by the Chennaiyin front line as the inability to stop the counter attack led to the goal.
Hugo Boumous was a miss for FC Goa but coach Lobera said that he might just make it for the 2nd leg. “I think he will recover in time for the next game. It was also a case of ensuring that we did not take any risks. We will see how he is in the next couple of days and then take a decision if he can feature in the next (match).”
The Chennaiyin FC camp has been doing well all season as they haven’t been riddled with injuries through this season and that’s a testament to a great team that they have assembled both on and off the field. Chennaiyin FC are in full strength and will be ready to go on the day of the match.
FC Goa seemed to have the edge over Chennaiyin FC whenever they are at the Marina Arena. Having played 4 times over the seasons, Chennaiyin have won just one game with the other 3 going FC Goa’s way. This game though is very different, with a playoff final on the cards, everything changes and with the game still very open, the result could swing either way.
Man to Watch
Manuel Lanzarote (FC Goa)
Manuel Lanzarote, the former Barcelona youth player, has been influential in this year’s success for FC Goa. Goa have been one of the most exciting teams to watch in this edition of the ISL and the winger’s pace and his flair has been really hard for the opposing defenders to deal with. He is currently on 13 goals and 6 assists for the season and will look to increase that going into this game against the Marina Machans.
Henrique Sereno (Chennaiyin FC)
The Portuguese defender has been a brick at the back for the Chennai based outfit along with the Brazilian, Mailson Alves. The defender has been monumental in the matches with a commanding presence across the back four. Chennai have grafted a lot of results and scrapped through a lot of games thanks to their defensive stability and Sereno forms a big part of it.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh, Inigo Calderon, Mailson Alves, Henrique Sereno, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Dhanapal Ganesh, Bikramjit Singh, Raphael Augusto, Francis Fernandes, Gregory Nelson & Jeje Lalpekhlua.
Did you Know?
Both the teams are without losses in at least 5 games. FC Goa (5), CFC (6).
FC Goa have always been the first to score in their last 5 games.
The last 6 fixtures Head-To-Head have never seen a clean sheet for either team.
The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports 2 and Stars Sports 2 HD 7.30 pm onwards. It will be also available for live streaming on Hotstar and Jio TV.