FC Goa came from behind again to secure a point – this time against Chennaiyin FC. Ishan Pandita, for the second game running, came on as a substitute and scored to help the Gaurs remain in charge of their own fate as the league season hits the final homestretch.
Chennaiyin FC took the lead early on through Jakub Sylvestr but Igor Angulo’s 12th strike of the season helped the Gaurs get back into the game. The Machans got their lead back when Lallianzuala Chhangte scored against the run of play in the opening minutes of the second half after a mix up at the back. FC Goa, though had the last say as Ishan Pandita’s fourth of the season helped Juan Ferrando and his men claim a point from tonight’s game.
An injury forced Juan Ferrando into naming the only change from the starting line up that took the field against Mumbai City FC as Ivan Gonzalez walked in for James Donachie.
The Gaurs were on the front foot to start with. However, it was Chennaiyin who struck first – against the run of play as the 13th minute saw Jakub Sylvestr waltz past three in the FC Goa orange before toe-poking it into the back of the net.
Their joy was shortlived as the 17th minute brought about FC Goa’s second penalty of the season as Eli Sabia was deemed to have handled an Igor Angulo header. Angulo stepped up and tucked away the chance for his 12th goal of the season two minutes later.
The game came alive again at the end of the 1st half as both sides threatened to take the lead. Chennaiyin came close with Sylvestr and former Gaur Manuel Lanzarote. Meanwhile, Igor Angulo forced Vishal Kaith into a save from long range.
The Gaurs started off on the front foot to begin the second half, with Glan Martins forcing Kaith into a fine low save within two minutes of the restart. Chennaiyin replied in kind on the other end as the dangerous Sylvestr nearly tucked away an opportunity but was denied by Dheeraj in the FC Goa goal – the youngster having all his angles covered.
The 60th minute saw Chennaiyin take the lead again as miscommunication at the back led to Lallianzuala Chhangte to slot it into an empty net.
In true FC Goa style, the Gaurs came roaring back and it was again in added-on time that Juan Ferrando’s men brought the game back on level terms. And for the second game running, it was Ishan Pandita on the rescue act.
A delightful ball from Noguera helped Pandita go beyond the backline. And the forward made no mistake in smacking the ball beyond the keeper, who had closed his angles down.
The result sees FC Goa reclaim the third spot on the table, level on points with Hyderabad FC but ahead on goal difference. The Gaurs now take to the field on February 17 to take on Odisha FC. That game is slated for a 7:30pm kickoff.