Preview: Chennai face Goa with both sides in search of their first win
Chennaiyin FC host FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai in the 2016 Hero Indian Super League on Thursday. It will be the first time both these sides will be facing each other since last season’s dramatic final at Fatorda, which Chennaiyin won 3-2. Thursday’s encounter between these two perennial title contenders is crucial for both sides as their search for their first win of Hero ISL 2016 continues. Chennai drew with Atlético de Kolkata in their season opener and then came a cropper against Delhi Dynamos FC, while Goa came up short against NorthEast United FC and FC Pune City.
Head-to-head: Matches between these two teams have never ended in a draw. The Super Machans beat the Gaurs 2-1 in Goa and lost 3-1 at home in Hero ISL 2014. Last season saw Chennaiyin win 4-0 away and lose 2-0 at home. The Super Machans also edged Goa 3-2 in the thrilling final of Hero ISL 2015.
Form Guide (Last five matches):
Chennaiyin FC: W-L-W-D-L
FC Goa: L-W-L-L-L
John Arne Riise vs Rafael Coelho
Chennaiyin FC’s marquee player John Arne Riise will need to put in a big performance for his side as the reigning champions look for their first win of the season. The 36-year-old has looked solid at the back for Chennai this season and has completed one bock, one interception, four successful tackles and seven clearances. Thursday’s fixture against an attack-minded Goan team will be his sternest test yet.
Rafael Coelho has been one of FC Goa’s best players in their first two matches of the season. The 28-year-old Brazilian attacker’s pace and trickery with the ball at his feet has proved difficult for opposition defences to contain. He has scored the Gaurs’ only goal this season and has had more attempts on goal (7) than any other player from his team.
Jayesh Rane vs Mandar Rao Dessai
Jayesh Rane’s performance in Chennaiyin’s first two matches of the season has been one of the few positives for the Super Machans in an otherwise lacklustre start to their Hero ISL title defence. The 23-year-old has been a major threat for Marco Materazzi’s men this year and also scored the first goal by an Indian in Hero ISL 2016 during Chennai’s season opener against Atlético de Kolkata.
Now in his third season with FC Goa, Mandar Rao Dessai is starting to repay the faith shown in him by head coach Zico. A local boy from Goa, Dessai has been highly influential for the Gaurs this year and has caused opposition full-backs all sorts of problems. He has completed more crosses (7) than any other player from Goa and can be seen tracking back to help out his defence as his two successful tackles, one interception, one clearance and one block go to show.
Dudu vs Rafael Dumas
A proven goal-scorer in the Hero ISL, Chennaiyin frontman Dudu became the only player to score for three different teams in the league when he netted for Chennai in their 3-1 loss against Delhi Dynamos FC. He scored thrice for FC Pune City in the inaugural season and four times for FC Goa last year, including a hat-trick against Mumbai City FC. The 31-year-old Nigerian will be looking to get one up on his old side on Thursday.
Rafael Dumas brings an authoritative presence to FC Goa’s backline with his old-fashioned, no-nonsense style of defending. The Brazilian youngster has started at the back for FC Goa in both their matches and has proven to be a perfect foil for his side’s veteran defenders, thanks to his pace. He has made one successful tackle, two clearances, four interceptions and five blocks for the Gaurs thus far.
Chennaiyin FC: Karanjit Singh, Pawan Kumar, Duwayne Kerr, Bernard Mendy, Mehrajuddin Wadoo, Nallappan Mohanraj, Eli Sabia, Eder Monterio, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Abhishek Das, John Arne Riise, Baljit Sahni, Hans Mulder, Manuele Blasi, Thoi Singh, Raphael Augusto, Harmanjot Singh Khabra, Dhanpal Ganesh, Davide Succi, Maurizio Peluso, Bedashwor Singh, Uttam Rai, Jeje Lalpekhlua
FC Goa: Laxmikanth Kattimani, Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Sukhdev Patil, Lucio, Debabrata Roy, Denzil Franco, Fulganco Cardozo, Gregory Arnolin, Keenan Almeida, Luciano Sobrosa, Rafael Dumas, Raju Gaikwad, Sanjay Balmuchu, Joffre, Mandar Rao Dessai, Pratesh Shirodkar, Richarlyson, Romeo Fernandes, Sahil Tavora, Trindade Goncalves, Julio Cesar, Rafael Coelho, Reinaldo, Robin Singh