ISL: Chennaiyin FC outsmart FC Goa,set up final with Bengaluru FC

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Chennaiyin FC players celebrate after Jeje Lalpekhlua's opening goal against FC Goa during their Indian Super League semi-final (Image: ISL Media)

Chennai, March 13: Chennaiyin FC reached their second Indian Super League final in three years as they outsmarted FC Goa 3-0 (4-1 aggregate) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Tuesday (March 13). The tie was evenly poised after the first leg ended 1-1 but a brace from Jeje Lalpekhlua (26 and 90 minutes) and one goal from Dhanpal Ganesh (29 minutes) was enough for Chennaiyin FC to seal a place in the final. They will now clash with Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru, on Saturday.

Jeje could have easily had a hat-trick but missed a handful of chances. However, when it mattered most, he put the ball in the back of the net as Chennaiyin turned a stunning first half on its head by scoring two goals in quick succession completely against the run of play.

For the first 21 minutes, it was all FC Goa. The visitors were incredible in attack and produced a flurry of chances. Mandar Rao Dessai and Narayan Das combined to send in a stinging cross across the face of goal which Jerry Lalrinzuala almost turned into his own net.

Chennaiyin goalkeeper Karanjit Singh was the busiest man on the pitch in this period where Goa sent waves towards goal. Hugo Boumous played in Mandar soon after and his shot went in off the inside of Karanjit's thigh and eventually out of play. Karanjit was at it again when he made a stunning save to deny Manuel Lanzarote from a powerfully driven free-kick.

Goa's attacker in chief started creating more problems when he sent in a cross from the right to find Chinglensena Singh's head, but the impending attempt on goal soared over the bar.

Jeje heads in the opener

Jeje heads in the opener

Chennaiyin FC finally produced something of meaning when Gregory Nelson's super pass was met by Jeje's header, but it was wayward. Just minutes later, he would score though - it was Nelson's ball again, and Chennaiyin's striker didn't make any mistake from point-blank range with his head. (Image: ISL Media)

Dhanpal gives Chennai a breather

Dhanpal gives Chennai a breather

The home side doubled their lead even before Goa could breathe. Nelson sent in a lovely cross again and it was met by Dhanpal Ganesh, whose glancing header was enough to beat Naveen Kumar. (Image: ISL Media)

Dhanpal gets ready for Bengaluru

Dhanpal gets ready for Bengaluru

Dhanpal Ganesh, who scored the second goal for Chennaiyin FC, has netted against Bengaluru FC before - Chennai's opponents this Saturday in the ISL final (Image: ISL Media)

One with the fans

One with the fans

Chennaiyin FC fans celebrate after their side's progress to the ISL final.

Young gun Thapa

Anirudh Thapa came on as a substitute in Goa and gave Chennaiyin FC the crucial away goal advantage.

Words from the captain

India cricket skipper Virat Kohli, a co-owner of FC Goa, encouraged his boys after their run in the ISL.

Raphael Augusto started turning on the heat with some magical skills and almost scored after ghosting past two Goa defenders only to shoot straight at the keeper. The last chance of the half fell to Goa, when Mandar dummied past Ganesh, only to see his shot saved by the fingertips of Karanjit.

Augusto, who ran the show with his graceful play, fired a warning shot seconds into the second half when he shot over from distance. Chennaiyin were pretty much in control in the latter half of the match, maintaining intensity in attack but keeping spaces tight at the back. Jeje could've put serious daylight between the two sides in the 65th minute but his lob over the keeper didn't go in after a finely timed run.

Goa couldn't fancy any chances as the match petered out, but it was Jeje again who could've sealed the match but his scissor-snapshot was loose and high as he attempted the half-volley. Minutes later, he capitalised on a defensive error and produced a fine finish to end Goa's chances.

Source: ISL Media

Story first published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 22:34 [IST]
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