Chennaiyin resurgence due for stern Goa test
Unbeaten in their last four outings, Chennaiyin FC will be eager to continue their surge when they host FC Goa in the Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. Owen Coyle's men, however, will need to put their best foot forward if they are to get anything out of the tie against a very in-form Goa side which has already secured 18 points from their nine matches and lost just once so far this season. To recall, the two faced off in their opening match of Hero ISL 2019-20 at the Fatorda with Goa emerging as 3-0 victors.
Having put their shaky start to the campaign behind them, Chennaiyin have found their footing in this season's competition with eight points from their last four. In comparison, the Marina Machans had managed just a single point from their first four outings this season. Central to the revival has been Lithuanian striker Nerijus Valskis, who has raked up five goals in their last four and looks to be in red hot form. Andre Schembri and Lallianzuala Chhangte have also found themselves amongst the goals of late and the attacking trio will be key to Chennaiyin's ambitions on Thursday. New head coach Coyle has also hit the ground running and is yet to face defeat since taking over the team two matches back.
The defence, however, has been an area of concern for the team which has managed just a single clean sheet in their eight matches this term. Things will be even tougher for Chennaiyin against star-studded Goa attack, especially with first-choice centre back Eli Sabia set to miss out due to suspension.
Currently on a three-match winning streak, Goa seem to have found their rhythm of late after a somewhat indecisive but pragmatic start to the season. Their talismanic forward Ferran Corominas has been in fine touch since coming back from injury and has scored thrice in the last two matches. Coro's return to the playing XI has added an extra edge to the side with other attacking assets like Brandon Fernandes, Hugo Boumous and Jackichand Singh also firing all cylinders. Manvir Singh, too, represents a potent option and the youngster has already proven his knack for scoring vital goals coming off the bench.
The goal threat posed by this FC Goa side, however, isn’t only restricted to their impressive forward line. With goal-scoring centre backs like Mourtada Fall and Carlos Pena in their ranks, Goa have been a menace from set pieces. The duo has contributed with two goals each and will be a huge threat from set pieces. In fact, ten out of Goa’s 18 goals so far this season has come from set pieces – a stat which makes the absence of a physical presence like Sabia even more ominous for Chennaiyin.
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith (GK), Tondonba Singh, Lucian Goian (C), Masih Saighani, Germanpreet Singh, Rafael Crivellaro, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Nerijus Valskis, Andre Schembri
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues, Jackichand Singh, Brandon Fernandes, Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas.
Did you know?
- Chennaiyin are on a 4-match unbeaten run (2 wins and 2 draws). Last season, they could not manage any sort of unbeaten run.
- Goa have scored most goals in the second half (12 out of 18). No team has scored more.
- Goa have scored 10 goals from set pieces (highest in the league).
Which in-form striker will steal the show on Thursday?
- Nerijus Valskis
- Ferran Corominas
Tell us in the comments below:
Live broadcast schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Match 46: Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa
Date: December 26 (Thursday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV