Chennaiyin fights back to hold FC Goa

Wednesday, 14 Mar, 2018

The visiting FC Goa side will be aware that they have to score as a draw won't be enough.

After the first leg in Fatorda ended 1-1, Goa came here in the second leg hoping to earn a crucial away goal firstly and they dominated the first 25 minutes before Chennayin turned the game in their favour, with goals from striker Jeje Lalpekhlua (26th and 90th minutes) and Dhanpal Ganesh (29th minute) during the match on Tuesday. The tightly-knit and organised backline of Chennaiyin, comprising Mailson Alves, Henrique Sereno, Inigo Calderon and Jerry Lalrinzuala, has been the most consistent and hardly yields any space to their opponents to operate. The Spanish duo of Ferran Corminas and Manuel Lanzarote, and their captain for the night, Mandar Dessai, were running CFC ragged but once the game settled down, the home side made their presence felt.

In a bid to breach Chennaiyin's defence, Goa will be banking on midfielder Hugo Boumous, who recovered from an injury.

In the first leg of their semifinal, Goa had 63% of the ball and twice the number of passes as Chennaiyin. We are playing a tough team.

The former Las Palmas coach was asked that his side have only scored a single goal in over 225 minutes of football against Chennaiyin FC since going 3-0 up in the first game of the season.

Gregory's pre-match press conference on Monday was eerily similar to Mourinho's defence of his tactics after Manchester United's win over Liverpool during the weekend. FC Goa, though, can not focus only on attack and leave their defence open.

"We have foreigners in our defence and they have been key figures for us not just on field but also off it". When Chennaiyin attack, they hunt in a pack. The home team then missed a glorious opportunity to score against the run of play in the 20 minute. It means that Goa can not relax even if they score and speaks volumes about the fitness of John Gregory's outfit. Jeje, who is Chennaiyin's top scorer with seven goals, has been firing blanks in the last seven matches while Calderon has a gash on his right calf after sustaining a hard tackle in the last match. "We worked exceptionally hard and we were disappointed that we did not take some chances. We can't focus on one player of the opposition", said Lobera. Our focus will be to keep a clean sheet. We have people who have won the ISL before. "No matter what, Calderon will play", Gregory said.