Goa into semifinals after 3-1 win over Chennaiyin
FC Goa completed an impressive victory over Chennaiyin FC to maintain their impressive winning form in the second half of the campaign. With this victory, Zico’s men qualify for the knockout stage of the competition along with the home side.
Chennaiyin started the first half the brighter of the two sides as they kept the ball and drove forward with purpose, controlling possession for the first fifteen minutes. As the half progressed, Zico’s men began to get a foothold in the game. The defeat to the same opposition in the first match of the tournament was probably ringing in their minds. In the 24th minute, Mandar Rao Desai took an excellent left-footed shot that beat Shilton Paul and ricocheted back into play off the crossbar. Romeo Fernandes was on hand to smash home an excellent opener.
The away side took confidence from their first goal and pushed on. André Santos saw his excellent free kick from the right come back off a post in the 40th minute. He wasn’t to be denied, however, as he turned and shot with his left foot to beat Paul a minute later to double the lead.
The hosts were quickly off the blocks when they came out in the second period as they required two goals to draw level. They moved the ball around with intent but their superior possession could not be translated into a goal. It was the away side who grabbed their third when Narayan Das collected the ball in midfield, ran towards goal and fired a fantastic left-footed shot at Paul, whose parried save was straight into the path of Miroslav Slepička. The Czech striker turned it in with a smart volley from close range to score his fifth goal in four games.
The away side did fashion as few more chances but couldn’t get a fourth. Chennaiyin did all they could to get at least a consolation, and were finally able to grab a goal late on. Jean-Eudes Maurice collected the ball and slipped it through Grégory’s legs with Šeda well off his line. Maurice’s goal ended up being the last kick of the game as Goa collected their fourth win on the trot.
Zico will be happy with his team’s performance after a dismal start to the season and will want Goa’s winning streak to continue against Atlético de Kolkata, whom they play in Kolkata on December 10. Chennaiyin are still top of the league and will want to remain there. They can guarantee top spot with a win over Delhi Dynamos at home on December 9.
Hero of the Match: Romeo Fernandes (FC Goa)
Swift Moment of the Match: André Santos (FC Goa)
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Cristian Hidalgo
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Narayan Das (FC Goa)