FC Goa go top after beating Chennaiyin FC 2-0
FC Goa avenged their defeat against Chennaiyin FC earlier in the season to go top of the 2015 Hero Indian Super League table with two second half penalties from Leo Moura and Jonatan Lucca as Harmanjot Singh Khabra saw red again having just returned from suspension.
Chennai dangerman Stiven Mendoza took the first shot of the match inside first minute. Both sides started the game keen on attack as the tie began on a very high tempo in front of 24,205 spectators at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. The visitors slowly gained control with Moura and Lucca starting to impose themselves in midfield which led to a series of corners for the Gaurs. Raju Gaekwad’s long range throw-ins were especially causing havoc on the Super Machans. The trajectory of his flat throw-ins were almost successful in prying open the Chennai defence a little short of the half-hour mark.
Chennaiyin FC had the best break of the half in the 36th minute. A Super Machans corner fell perfectly to Mendoza who had acres of space inside the box. The Colombian somewhat uncharacteristically shot wide of the target.
FC Goa almost took the lead in additional time at the end of the first period but for a brilliant Mehrajuddin Wadoo recovery tackle which took the ball off Thongkhosiem Haokip’s toes just as he was about to shoot, keeping the score at 0-0 as the teams went in level-pegging at half-time.
As was the case in the first period, it was Mendoza who had the first shot for Chennai in the second half. His shot though failed to call FC Goa keeper Laxmikant Kattimani into action.
The goal finally came in the 64th minute from the penalty spot after Bernard Mendy was punished for bringing down FC Goa’s latest addition Rafael Coelho in the box. Moura stepped up and converted the spot-kick as if a man with ice in his veins to put Goa up 1-0.
Head coach Marco Materazzi introduced Bruno Pelissari into the match for Fikru Teferra in the 73rd minute as the hosts went chasing the game. However, the wind was taken out of Chennaiyin’s sails soon after when the referee awarded Goa their second penalty of the match. Wadoo was punished this time for handling a goal-bound effort. FC Goa interestingly chose to change penalty takers with Lucca stepping up to the plate this time round. The result remained the same with the Brazilian sending Karanjit the wrong way to give the Gaurs a two-goal advantage in the 78th minute.
The visitors decided to shore up things at the back and protect their two-goal advantage with just ten minutes remaining on the clock. Chennai did apply some pressure on the Goan goal during the close stages of the game but Zico’s men had just done enough to claim all three points with the game ending on a sour note after Chennai’s Khabra was sent off for the second game running in the last minute of normal time.
This was Goa’s fourth win in eight matches and they were one point ahead of FC Pune City and Delhi Dynamos FC. Chennai, on the other hand, suffered their fourth defeat in eight matches and were fifth in the table.
Club Award: FC Goa
Amul Fittest Player of the Match: Luciano Sobrosa (FC Goa)
Swift Moment of the Match: Raphael Coelho (FC Goa)
ISL Emerging Player of the Match: Thoi Singh (Chennaiyin FC)
Hero of the Match: Leo Moura (FC Goa) (Watch live)