Goa look to defy the odds against Chennaiyin and clinch a spot in the final
FC Goa will host Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Goa for the second leg of their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-final clash on Saturday. Having lost the first leg 4-1, the Gaurs have a mountain to climb if they are to overturn the deficit and reach the final. However, with the Gaurs at home and an away goal under their belt, counting Ferran Corominas and Co out just yet will be a fool's errand at best.
Goa will need to recover quickly from the shock defeat in Chennai if they are to have any chance of reaching the final. Clifford Miranda's men were largely underwhelming in the first leg with their famed attack barely managing to dent the Marina Machans' backline in the tie. To illustrate, Goa's front four for the match - Coro, Jackichand Singh, Manvir Singh and Seiminlen Doungel - only managed a single goal attempt in the entire match. Furthermore, Doungel's shot at goal wasn't even on target.
Additionally, Goa conceded all four goals in the second half - a trend which has been haunting them throughout the season. To further delve into the crisis, 24 of the 27 goals Goa have conceded this season have come about in the second 45 minutes. The defensive quartet of Mandar Rao Dessai, Mourtada Fall, Seriton Fernandes and Carlos Pena will need to step up to address the shortcoming come Saturday, as conceding a goal will severely reduce their chances of making it to the title decider on their own home ground.
However, in all fairness, Goa were dealt a severe double blow on the lead up to the first leg, with Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes needing to drop out owing to an ailment and a knock respectively. The two have been pivotal to Goa's creative synergy this season, contributing with a total of 13 goals and 16 assists between themselves. The duo's involvement on Saturday will be paramount if Goa are to have any chance of achieving the seemingly improbable feat.
With the away goal rule applicable, Saviour Gama's late strike in the first leg will give Goa some hope of turning things around. Fans can also take heart from the fact that Goa are one of the only two teams in the history of the Hero ISL who have successfully overturned a first leg semi final loss to make it to the final (back in 2015). This Saturday's task, however, will be a much steeper one and the Gaurs will need to be at their very best to have any chance of pulling this off.
With a 4-1 cushion under their belt, Chennaiyin will back themselves to get the job done on Saturday and reach their third Hero ISL final. However, Owen Coyle's men know they can't rest easy going up against the Gaurs who will be in their own backyard. Sitting back and trying to protect their lead will be a slippery slope against Goa, who have the ability to severely punish oppositions deploying a defensive ploy. The objective, therefore, will be to stay solid at the back and look for all-important away goals on the counter to snuff out the Goa challenge early.
Chennaiyin had four different goal scorers in the last match - a welcome recent development in the team. The last couple of fixtures have seen the Marina Machans come out of their over-reliance on Nerijus Valskis and Rafael Crivellaro, both of whom have been sensational this season, for their goals. Neither have been on the score sheet in Chennaiyin's last two outings but the team managed to cope and find a way to come out on top in both occasions.
Chennaiyin's front four - Valskis, Crivellaro, Lallianzuala Chhangte and Andre Schembri - have been brilliant this season but of late, Anirudh Thapa's ever-growing influence in midfield has come to the fore. The young midfielder's ability to control the tempo from the middle of the park and contribute on both ends of the pitch will be crucial on Saturday's match, considering Chennaiyin's objectives from the tie will require them to control the pace at which the game will be played.
FC Goa: Mohammad Nawaz (GK), Carlos Pena, Seriton Fernandes, Mourtada Fall, Mandar Rao Dessai, Lenny Rodrigues, Ahmed Jahouh, Brandon Fernandes, Jackichand Singh, Hugo Boumous, Ferran Corominas
Chennaiyin FC: Vishal Kaith, Jerry Lalrinzuala, Lucian Goian, Eli Sabia, Laldinliana Renthlei, Anirudh Thapa, Edwin Vanspaul, Lallianzuala Chhangte, Rafael Crivellaro, Andre Schembri, Nerijus Valskis
Did you know?
- Chennaiyin FC are in the midst of their longest unbeaten run in a Hero ISL season. (9 matches)
- If Goa manage to go to the final, it will be the 3rd time in Hero ISL history where a team lost the semi final 1st leg but went on to appear in the final. Goa managed the same feat in 2015 and Bengaluru in 2018-19.
- FC Goa have conceded 12 goals in the first 15 mins of the second half. (highest in league)
Live Broadcast Schedule:
Hero ISL 2019-20 Semi-final 1 Leg 2: FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC
Date: March 7 (Saturday)
Time: 7:30 PM onwards
Channels: Star Sports Network
Streaming: Hotstar and Jio TV
Will Goa be able to overturn the first leg deficit at home?
Leave your predictions in the comments below.