A second half blitz helped Chennaiyin FC register a commanding 4-1 victory over FC Goa in the first leg of their Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) 2019-20 semi-final clash at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Saturday. The result leaves the Gaurs with a mountain to climb in the second leg at the Fatorda, but the away goal will keep their hopes alive.
Even before the match went underway, there was big news on the offing with Hugo Boumous and Brandon Fernandes missing from the Goa line-up. It was Chennaiyin, who were asking the early questions, as they kept the Goa defence under pressure. Goian also tested Goa custodian Mohammad Nawaz with a header around the five-minute mark. Nawaz was in action yet again ten minutes later, keeping out Rafael Crivellaro’s driven shot.
The Goa defence looked nervy in the initial phases, giving the ball away in dangerous areas time and again. The Gaurs, however, slowly stabilized, largely thanks to Ahmed Jahouh’s composed showing in the middle of the park but provided very little attacking threat. Goa’s first notable chance of the game came about in the 35th minute with Seriton Fernandes forcing a save from Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith after a quick counter attacking move.
Nerijus Valskis came close in the 43rd minute from a free kick and clipped the outside of the post before going out. The half time whistle sounded with the scoreline 0-0.
Nine minutes after the restart, Goian drew first blood as he outleapt the Goa defence to head a Crivellaro free-kick past Nawaz.
The opener gave the match a lot more urgency as Goa tried to respond. The away team almost found a way through around the hour mark as Mourtada Fall had a free header on goal from a corner. The Senegalese, however, couldn’t keep his effort on target.
The Gaurs were made to pay minutes later as Anirudh Thapa curled one in past Nawaz in the 61st minute. Things only turned worse for the visitors from there on. In the 77th minute, Eli Sabia tapped in Valskis’ low cross to make it 3-0. Minutes later, it was Lallianzuala Chhangte who put the finishing touches to Crivellaro’s cross to increase Goa’s advantage.
With five minutes to go for regulation time, substitute Saviour Gama reduced the deficit for Goa as he toe-poked Jahouh’s pass in past Kaith. Goa ended the match strongly but couldn’t cut down the deficit any further. The match ended 4-1 in Chennaiyin’s favour.
ISL Media Release