The former opened the scoring for the southerners against the Red Machines.
Chennai City were held at home in their I-league match by a spirited Churchill Brothers side, as both teams out played an entertaining 2-2 draw in Coimbatore. The Southerners started very strongly and had a 1-0 lead at the end of the first half, courtesy of a goal from Nestor Gordillo.
The Red Machines though were quick to react in the second half as goals from Nenad Novakovic and Israil Gurung saw Petre Gigiu’s side take the lead in the 58th minute. Although, they could not hold onto their lead for long, as a brilliant individual display from Sandro Rodriguez helped Akbar Nawas’s men to make a comeback in the game.
Both teams had a horde of chances to bag full three points, but it was certainly not a day for the forwards in front of goal. Here are the talking points from the match.
5. Willis Plaza is misfiring once again
The Trinidad and Tobago international had no impact in the last game against Minerva Punjab and here again he failed to put up a good display against Chennai City. Plaza has been wasteful in front of goal to say the least and when a team creates so many chances they expect their foreign forward to bury them. But unfortunately, that has not been the case for Willis Plaza.
Despite being an experienced player he failed to take proper decisions in the final third and hardly managed to control the ball. He was closely marked by the Chennai defenders and did not do enough to make space and capitalise on the chances he got throughout the game.
4. Kabir Thaufiq is a major weak-link for Chennai City
Akbar Nawas had shown his trust in young goalkeeper Kabir Thaufiq, but he failed miserably to repay that faith. Thaufiq was shaky against Indian Arrows and he was even worse against the Red Machines.
The second goal which the southerners conceded came as a result of a mistake from the custodian. The young keeper made a hash of a simple cross as he spilt the ball and it was laid into the path of Israil Gurung, who toe-poked it past him to take a momentary lead. The mistake cost his team three points.
3. Nestor Gordillo and Sandro Rodiguez make up a brilliant midfield for the Southerners
Nestor Gordillo has been splendid with his deliveries and defence-splitting passes, but on Thursday, the Spaniard stepped up a notch and scored the opening goal of the match. He played a more advanced role and often supported Pedro Manzi upfront. The former Atletico Madrid B man also created several chances for Manzi upfront, but it was clearly not his day.
Sandro Rodriguez, on the other hand, held his fort and dominated the midfield for most of the game. Sandro kept the likes of Khalid Aucho and Dawda Ceesay at bay and did not allow them to dictate play. He scored a great individual goal right when the side were trailing and restored parity.
2. A game of two halves
It was certainly a game of two halves as the hosts were completely head and toes over their counterparts in the first half. They only had a one-goal lead which they should have looked to improve upon, as they missed a lot of chances to bury the game in the first half itself.
But, the Red Machines came back in the second half and with double strikes from Novakovic and Israil Gurung the away side was looking to take all three points from Coimbatore. But, Sandro Rodriguez came up with the equalizer as both the clubs shared the spoils. Churchill Brothers were definitely the better side in the second half as they pushed more men up the field and there was certainly more urgency from Petre Gigiu’s men in the second half.
1. A bad day for the high-profile forwards
The forwards had a day to forget as both sides created a lot of chances and it was end-to-end football in the latter stages of the game. The match could have ended with some other scoreline if the forwards would not have been wasteful in front of goal. Willis Plaza had no impact in the game even in the second half, when Churchill were pushing men forward in search of goals. The forward squandered innumerable chances and was very poor with his ball control in the final third.
Pedro Manzi, on the other hand, came to this game with blazing form after scoring a hat-trick against the Arrows. Manzi did have a lot of impact on the play in the first half, but even he failed to take the chances when they came his way. The 30-year-old is a dependable player for Akbar Nawas and his men and after his stunning display last time out, this was nowhere near in comparison. The talisman needs to pull up his socks and put his scoring boots on in their next match.