The 92nd match of the Hero Indian Super League between Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa ended in an entertaining draw. Both teams scored twice and there was nothing to separate between them. It was the same story again when Ishan Pandita came in as a substitute in the end. He scored in the extra time to save his team from an imminent defeat.
The match started with Chennaiyin FC looking dangerous from the kickoff. The FC Goa backline seemed a bit unsettled in the beginning. The goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh found himself in a couple of tricky situations in the initial few minutes itself.
First, it was Seriton Fernandes‘s tricky back pass which could have been claimed by Chennaiyin FC’s Jakub Sylvestr. However, Dheeraj did well to clear the ball. The second time came in the 3rd minute as Dheeraj’s clearance was claimed by Manuel Lanzarote. He attempted a subsequent shot at the goal. Thankfully for the Gaurs, the keeper was vigilant enough and made a stunning save to deny the attempt.
Chennaiyin FC kept dominating the pitch and kept creating chances until they finally scored their first goal in the 13th minute. It was Jakub Sylvestr who broke the deadlock and it was a brilliant solo effort from him. He headed a ball in from close range to be denied the first time. Still, somehow the ball ended on his feet again and this time he made no mistake for the finish.
The lead was short-lived though as FC Goa’s Igor Angulo scored from the penalty spot. Eli Sabia committed a handball in the 19th minute and FC Goa were awarded a penalty kick and the Gaurs got their equaliser within a short space of time.
In the 40th minute, Memo Moura intercepted a clearance from FC Goa’s defence and laid it for Lallianzuala Chhangte to finish. Chhangte did well to find space for himself but his shot went just wide of the post to the keeper’s left.
3 minutes later, Chhangte came into the action again as he set up Jakub Sylvestr. The latter went past the FC Goa defence line but his shot went on to hit the woodwork. A golden opportunity missed.
The second half started off as a ripper again as chances were created by both sides from the first minute. Although Chennaiyin FC seemed more dominating, FC Goa too seemed to have more possession than the first half. But it was Lallianzuala Chhangte again for Chennaiyin FC who scored their second goal. And it was created from yet another confusion amid the FC Goa defence line.
The defender Mohamed Ali and goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh waited for each other to clear the ball inside their penalty box. In the end, neither ended up clearing it. Chhangte seized the opportunity and slotted the ball in.
With the lead, Chennaiyin FC looked to close the game by playing a possession game. FC Goa found it hard to create chances. It was not until the extra time of the second half that they could finally find their equaliser, and it came from none other than Ishan Pandita.
Coming in at the 60th minute, Pandita received a long ball from Alberto Noguera and he found some space inside the Chennaiyin FC box and slotted in a goal on the far post. It was again another super stuff from the young Indian striker to save his side from defeat.
Hero of the Match: Ishan Pandita
The DHL Winning Pass of the Match Award was awarded to Alberto Noguera for his brilliant assist while Ishan Pandita was adjudged the winner of tonight’s Hero of the Match Award for his excellent extra time equaliser.
With the draw, FC Goa is back in the 3rd position in the table, as they have 24 points from 17 matches now. FC Goa faces Odisha FC on the 17th of February, and Chennaiyin FC is set to face off against NorthEast United FC the next day. The Marina Machans are now in the 8th position, with 18 points from 18 matches. Play-off qualification chance looks slim for Chennaiyin FC, and they need to pick up their game soon if they wish to qualify to the knockout stage.