In Numbers: FC Goa, Chennaiyin FC yet to crack the final third maze

Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa are two teams with the most number of goals scored in the history of Hero Indian Super League (ISL), with a count of 196 and 256 respectively, but the trajectory has tilted in an unfavourable way for the two heavyweights in the ongoing season. It has seen either side struggling for a spot in the semi-final, with just five matches left in the league stage.

Each of the sides reflecting a goal difference of negative six is uncharacteristic of their reputation and the lack of chance conversion has been the root cause of all the problems. The Gaurs have a goal conversion rate of 6.95, which is the lowest by any team this season, while Chennaiyin FC’s rate stands at 8.12, the second-fewest in the Hero ISL 2021-22.

The hesitancy to go for the kill in the final third has also dented their respective campaigns this season. For example, the Gaurs complete 4.58 passes in the final third before taking a shot, which is the most by any team in the Hero ISL. Not surprisingly, Chennaiyin FC is second on the list, with them completing 4.29 passes in the attacking zone, before going for the climax.

Despite the similarity in their behaviour upfront, the teams follow a contrasting style of football. FC Goa play a possession based game, where they pass the ball around and wait for the perfect moment to launch an assault. Meanwhile, Chennaiyin FC sit back, absorbs the pressure and plays on the counter, making use of limited opportunities.

The Gaurs have scored 18 goals this season, which is the third-fewest by any team so far, but have taken 230 shots on target, the highest by any side. Chennaiyin FC have scored 14 goals this season, the fewest by a team this season, with an accuracy rate of 26.25%, the second-lowest for any side this season.

It clearly proves that whatever the philosophy a club might follow, inefficiency in the final third is not sustainable in the long run. As we approach the ending stages of the season, it would be a hefty task for the managers to fill in this particular void and ascend towards glory.

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