Goa edge Chennai 3-2 in a game of two halves
FC Goa grabbed the first victory of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 courtesy of a thrilling 3-2 away win over Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. The Spanish duo of Ferran Corominas and Manuel Lanzarote gave the Gaurs a two-goal lead before Mandar Rao Dessai scored their third in the opening period. Chennaiyin fought back in the second half through Inigo Calderon’s free-kick and Raphael Augusto’s penalty to make it a nail-biting finish.
Goa had the first real opportunity of the game when Brandon Fernandes was fed a ball from the left flank. His first time shot blazed harmlessly over the bar, but Goa’s attacking intent was made clear early on nonetheless.
They were soon rewarded with the first goal of the season in the 25th minute. Fernandes and Corominas played a lovely give-and-go before the Spaniard slid the ball under goalkeeper Karanjit Singh to open the scoring.
They got their second four minutes later after another swift attack saw Goa’s local boy Dessai cut in from the right. His shot was blocked by a diving Karanjit Singh but the rebound was lobbed delightfully into the back of the net by Lanzarote.
Goa continued with the pressing and in the 39th minute, the same combination helped them net a third. Lanzarote teed up Dessai this time for the 25-year-old to shoot first-time with his left foot and make it 3-0 for the visitors.
Chennaiyin were on the back foot, but managed to soak up the pressure for what remained of the half. The half-time whistle brought relief for the home team as Goa went into the break leading 3-0 much to the disappointment of the Super Machans.
Chennai returned to the pitch with a point to prove in the second half and were left with hands on their heads after hitting the woodwork twice in the 48th minute. First, Jeje Lalpekhlua, who had been kept quiet for much of the first half, saw his powerful shot from a tight angle cannon off Laxmikant Kattimani’s left-hand post. Jeje’s effort was soon followed by an attempt from substitute Gregory Nelson, who in a one-on-one situation with Kattimani, saw his shot rattle the Goa custodian’s right-hand post.
They kept persisting though and were gifted a goal in the 70th minute. Calderons kept his free-kick low and Kattimani failed to gather the shot as the ball bounced off his outstretched arms and chest before rolling into the net.
They further narrowed the deficit in the 84th minute after Kattimani’s challenge on Jeje in the box was deemed to be unfair. Raphael Augusto stepped up and sent Kattimani the wrong way to convert from the spot and make it 3-2. Buoyed by screaming fans, the hosts threw caution to the wind in the closing stages but Goa somehow managed to hang on to register the first win of Hero ISL 2017-18.
Club Award - FC Goa
Moment of the Match - Mandar Rao Dessai
Winning Pass of the Match - Brandon Fernandes
ISL Emerging Player - Jerry Lalrinzuala
Hero of the Match - Manuel Lanzarote