Chennai beat Goa in a 3-2 thriller to become Hero ISL 2015 champions
Chennaiyin FC became the 2015 Hero Indian Super League champions after beating FC Goa 3-2 in the final at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Sunday evening. After a goalless first half, the game burst into life in the second. Chennai took the lead through Bruno Pelissari before a Thongkhosiem Haokip strike and a Joffre free-kick gave Goa a 2-1 lead with three minutes to spare. Chennaiyin FC though retaliated with two goals – first a Laxmikant Kattimani own goal seconds before full-time and then a Stiven Mendoza winner during stoppage time - to claim the trophy.
FC Goa were quick off the blocks and had a shot on goal blocked by Chennaiyin FC’s defence under 10 seconds. The Super Machans weren’t exactly prepared to be on the back foot either with Thoi Singh looking threatening on the right side of Chennai’s attacks.
The first clear-cut chance fell Chennai’s way with Bruno Pelissari exchanging a brilliant one-two with Mendoza before unleashing a left-footed effort just wide of goal in the 17th minute. Goa responded with a Jonatan Lucca free-kick which keeper Apoula Edel put behind for a corner.
Rafael Coelho then did brilliantly to control a long ball forward just beyond the half hour mark and nearly broke the deadlock after getting the ball beyond Edel in goal. Only a stunning recovery tackle from Mailson Alves made sure that the scores remained at 0-0.
The best chance of the half came Chennaiyin’s way when Mendoza completed a quick exchange of passes with Jeje Lalpekhlua in the 38th minute before forcing Goa’s keeper Laxmikant Kattimani into a save at his near post as both sides went in at half-time all square.
FC Goa began the second half without the services of Leo Moura after the influential playmaker was withdrawn due to injury and replaced by Haokip. Pelissari had the first shot of the second period but the Brazilian’s failed to test the keeper.
The pendulum swung Chennai’s way soon after Pronay Halder brought down Mendoza inside the box and gave away a penalty. Pelissari stepped up and saw his initial effort saved by Kattimani before converting the rebound to put Chennaiyin FC up 1-0.
The Gaurs reacted in fine style four minutes later with Romeo Fernandes breaking at pace on the right and putting in a dangerous low ball for substitute Haokip to tap into an empty net at the far post and make it 1-1 with 58 minutes played.
The drama escalated a minute later with Goa giving away another penalty after the referee punished Kattimani for bringing down Mendoza in the penalty area. The Colombian stepped up and shot low to Kattimani’s left. Goa’s 26-year-old keeper, however, made another save and prevented Chennai from re-establishing their lead.
Haokip was once again in the thick of things in the 76th minute when he tried to catch keeper Edel by surprise with a cheeky attempt from a Coelho cross that forced Chennai’s keeper into a stunning reaction save.
FC Goa delivered a hammer blow three minutes before time after their diminutive Spanish playmaker Joffre took a free-kick that found its way through Chennai’s wall and beyond the outstretched arms of a desperate Edel in goal to make it 2-1.
The Super Machans though were not done yet and equalized with an own goal after confusion at the back between Kattimani and Halder led to the Goa keeper punching the ball through his own net to make it 2-2.
The action wasn’t over as Chennaiyin FC left FC Goa stunned with Mendoza dribbling past Gregory Arnolin at the back and placing the ball past Kattimani to make it 3-2 in stoppage-time and make the Super Machans the new kings of the Hero Indian Super League.
Club Award – Chennaiyin FC
Swift Moment of the Match – Edel Bete [Chennaiyin FC]
Amul Fittest Player of the Match – Dhanachandra Singh [Chennaiyin FC]
HP Transformer of the Match – Stiven Mendoza [Chennaiyin FC] (Watch here)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match – T. Haokip [FC Goa] (Watch here)
Hero of the Match – Joffre [FC Goa] (Watch here)
Muthoot Group Fair Play Award – Mumbai City FC
Amul Fittest Player of the League – Iain Hume [Atlético de Kolkata]
AltoK10 Golden Boot Award – Stiven Mendoza [Chennaiyin FC]
Golden Glove Award – Edel Bete [Chennaiyin FC]
ISL Emerging Player of the League – Jeje Lalpekhlua [Chennaiyin FC]
Hero of the League – Stiven Mendoza [Chennaiyin FC]