FC Goa secured the second spot on the ISL table thanks to a comfortable 1-0 win over defending champions Chennaiyin FC this Thursday. Ferran Corominas’ strike in the 26th minute of the game helped FC Goa to their 10th win of the season – another single season club record.
This was also the Guar’s third double of the season after having achieved the feat against Mumbai City FC and Kerala Blasters earlier this year.
The Gaurs have mostly made rollicking starts to their games and this was no different as the Gaurs enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession. They, however, found it tough to eke a clear opportunity on goal.
Surprisingly it was Chennaiyin FC with the first attempt on target when Jeje Lalpekhlua found space on the left hand side of the box. The man from Mizoram was able to keep his attempt on target, but it lacked any kind of conviction.
The first real opportunity for the home side came in the 19th minute of the game after Edu’s hard work helped set up Coro for an effort. The Spaniard was able to wiggle himself free from the attention of the defenders before getting his shot off. That, though, was weak and easy for Karanjit Singh to save.
FC Goa wouldn’t have to wait much long to open the scoring though. Another raking long ball from Ahmed Jahouh found the run of Jackichand Singh. The pass was met with an even more precise touch from the man from Manipur, who crossed the ball into the middle first time for Coro. The ISL’s golden boot leader had time to take a touch before putting it past the onrushing keeper for his 15th of the season.
The home side kept the pressure on and Seriton nearly got the first of his season. Coro was able to look up and put in a beautifully weighted ball through the backline. Thankfully for John Gregory, Eli Sabia was quick to assess the danger and get there in time to snuff it out.
The first half’s final chance for the Gaurs came when Edu Bedia was played in on the left side of the box by Coro. His cheeky effort, however, lacked any precision.
The 45th minute of the game saw Anirudh Thapa have a great opportunity for Chennaiyin after Jeje was quick to pounce on a mistake from Lenny Rodrigues. That chance came to nothing as Mourtada Fall was quick to get across and blocked the Indian international’s effort on goal.
Saviour Gama, meanwhile, was having the time of his life in his ISL debut for FC Goa. His zealous defending of CK Vineeth was matched by his adventurous runs forward. And in the 51st minute a brilliant cross field ball from Jacki on the counter found the left-back in an advanced position. Whilst the run was brilliant, his first touch was not up to par – leading to him failing to make any real in roads on that occasion.
The Gaurs remained on the front foot and looked likely to get their second in the 55th minute but for a timely interception by Mailson. The defender was there to clear Jackichand’s low cross into the box after he was played in by Edu.
Chennaiyin FC’s best opportunity came in the 68th minute of the game when a ruckus in the Goa penalty box led to the ball rolling to Chris Herd at the far post. The Australians effort summed up the defending champion’s season as the ball threatened the spectators in the second tier of the stands rather than Naveen Kumar in goal.
FC Goa’s best chance to score the second came in the 77th minute when Jacki played in Coro with an inch-perfect through ball. Sadly, the Spaniard for once was unable to hit the target as he attempted to dink it over the onrushing Karanjit with his weaker left foot.
The final minutes of the game saw substitutes Manvir Singh and Brandon Fernandes work out a great chance but the latter failed to find the target.
And thus the game ended 1-0, giving the Gaurs their eighth clean sheet of the season – the highest in the league. FC Goa now awaits other results to find out who they will square off against in the semifinals.