A goal each in both halves from Kwame Karikari rendered Noah Sadaoui’s wonder-strike ineffective, as Chennaiyin FC beat FC Goa 2-1 at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda on Thursday.
Karikari scored in the 10th and 73rd minute, on either side of Sadaoui’s goal in the 49th minute.
Earlier in the day, FC Goa head coach Carlos Pena rang in just one change to his playing XI that started against Mumbai City, as Saviour Gama got the nod over Sanson Pereira at left-back.
It was the Gaurs that started the clash on a commanding note, but the tables soon turned when Chennaiyin FC scored against the run of play in the 10th minute. Julius Duker won the ball for the visitors in their attacking third and played it through to ex-FC Goa player Vincy Barretto, who then cut it for an unmarked Kwame Karikari in the box to finish past goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.
The Men in Orange responded with more viciousness, making several inroads into the Chennaiyin box in the next few minutes. Some timely interventions by their goalkeeper Samik Mitra, however, helped the Marina Machans maintain their lead.
In the 24th minute, FC Goa came close to finding the equalizer, but Edu Bedia’s headed attempt narrowly missed the target after Noah Sadaoui found him with a well-timed cross from the left flank.
Pena’s boys continued dominating the proceedings for the remainder of the first half as well. The Gaurs mustered as many as five shots during this period, three of which were on target. They also ended the half with 56% ball possession, showing signs of promise.
Following the change of ends, it took FC Goa just four minutes to bring the scoresheet back to level terms.
A lovely long ball from Edu Bedia was chested perfectly by Noah Sadaoui, who then beat his marker and advanced into the box before beating Mitra with a shot that struck the inside of the crossbar and kissed the net.
The Gaurs continued to enjoy most of the ball possession after the equalizer as well, but a penalty in the 73rd minute derailed the hosts’ hopes. Karikari made no mistake as he fired towards his right from the spot, which went in despite Dheeraj making the correct guess.
In retaliation, substitute Aibanbha Dohling got a golden chance to restore parity on the scoresheet, but his shot, though, was tame and the Chennaiyin goalkeeper made a tidy save.
The dying minutes of the match saw FC Goa throw the kitchen sink in search of at least a point, as the Marina Machans’ defence was kept on their toes by Sadaoui, Iker Guarrotxena and substitute Alvaro Vazquez. The visitors, however, held their reserve till the final minute, holding on to the narrow lead and eventually returning home with the win.
The defeat dampens FC Goa’s playoff hopes, as they now are on 27 points from 19 matches. A win in their final league assignment against Bengaluru and other favourable results could result in them securing a place in the top-six.
FC Goa Media Release