FC Goa overpower Chennai City in last pre-season friendly
Written by: Ravish R Narvekar
All goals were scored by Goan players in the 4-0 rout.
After returning from pre-season training in Spain where they registered three wins in a row but lost to East Bengal in the first pre-season friendly at home. However, they managed to ease past another Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan in the last match. On the other hand, Chennai had drawn 2-2 with newly entrant ISL side Bengaluru FC.
FCG coach Sergio Lobera made few changes to his side from the last match as Naveen Kumar was seen under the crossbar, while local boy Mohamed Ali and Spanish winger Manuel Arana started for the first time on Goan soil for the Gaurs. Their highest goal scorer in the pre-season in Spain Adrian Colunga continued to miss due to a minor injury.
The match started with “tiki-taka” style of football from the home side in which they took just five minutes to create their first attack as Mandar Rao Desai was nicely fed by Manuel Lanzarote who cut back to Arana in the box but the striker saw his header was easily collected by Chennai keeper Vicky.
A few minute before this, the South Indian club also had a chance when Michael Lucky was in the commanding position to stun the home supporter in the very early stage of the match but the striker’s shot saw the side net.
With just ten minutes crossing the clock, the Gaurs came with two more attacks from both the wings, where first Brandon Fernandes tried to find Ferran Corominas in the box but Chennai defender Dharmaraj Ravanan cleared it for safety. A minute later, Arana came up with a cross to find Coro in the box but this time Chennai keeper Vicky was quick enough to collect it before the Spanish striker could do any damage.
On the counter-attack, Iltar Amirov made a swift run after receiving a pass from Gurpreet from the halfway line but centre-back Ali timely intercepted the dangerous move.
After some probing attacks, the Gaurs finally opened their tally at the half-hour mark through Mandar. Brandon started the move with a short pass to Lanzarote who quickly released the ball in the box with defence lapsing the first touch, Mandar who quickly covered some ground after getting hold of the ball and clinically beat the keeper Vicky making it 1-0 for his side.
At the other end, FCG keeper Naveen was tasted twice, first by Charles and later by Lucky in the last few minute before the halftime whistle but on Goan custodian collected the ball comfortably on both the occasions.
The Gaurs had the best chance in the 45th minutes to go into the breather with a double goal lead when Arana once again came with a fine cross from the right but Brandon saw his divining header go wide by a yard.
The Gaurs came out stronger in the second session as their coach Lobera made four changes at the halftime bringing in Sergio Juste, Bruno Pinheiro, Amay Rananwade and local young talent Liston Colaco replacing Ali, Chinglensana Singh, Seriton Fernandes and Arana.
It was just five minutes past in the second half when Mandar doubled Goa’s tally when he collected a fine through pass from Pinheiro and brilliantly past onrushing keeper Vicky to make it 2-0 for the Gaurs.
The home supporters were hardly settled after celebrating the second goal when they witnessed the third in the 55th minutes. This time Mandar made a great footwork to cut past a defender at the deep flank and sent a cutback pass to Brandon whose powerful shot entered the bottom right making it 3-0 in favour of the home side.
Spanish coach later introduced two more domestic players bringing in Pratesh Shirodkar and Anthony D’Souza in the midfield and Anthony showed his calibre with just coming in as he made a darting run on the left wing and nicely curled in the box to Liston who tapped in from close making it fourth goal of the match for the Goans.
Published: Sun Nov 12, 2017 10:14 PM IST