Goa, February 15: Chennaiyin FC took a huge leap towards confirming their place in the Indian Super League playoffs as they beat a stuttering FC Goa 1-0, leaving the Gaurs in huge trouble in the race for top four.
Goa are now without a win in four matches and this could be a season defining loss for them. Chennaiyin are now 3rd, leapfrogging Jamshedpur FC and leading them by two points. All the top four teams have now played 15 matches.
Chennaiyin drew first blood when Gregory Nelson's shot was turned away by Naveen Kumar into the path of Jeje Lalpekhlua. Jeje tried to cut it back but the ball wickedly touched Inigo Calderon and rolled into the net.
.@FCGoaOfficial threw everything at @ChennaiyinFC, but the visitors came away with the points in a thriller of a game in Goa!— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 15, 2018
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It was an incredible finish to the match - as FC Goa stepped up their attack in last 15 minutes and looked they were coming into their own when Hugo Boumous' mishit volley went straight to Ferran Corominas. He tried to turn it towards goal but Karanjit Singh was in the way. Brandon Fernandes then hit the woodwork with a thumping drive from distance.
Seconds later, Corominas' flick struck the post, hit the keeper and went across the face of goal in stunning fashion. Corominas then almost scored from a loose ball after a corner but Jerry Lalrinzuala made a fine block. Then it was substitute Mark Sifneos' chance to miss when he headed a glorious cross wide. All this in the last five minutes made for a breakneck finish.
Just like in the first half, Goa had to defend a Chennaiyin attack straight from the off in the second period. Nelson escaped down the left and crossed low for Jeje. The striker slid in, and got enough on the ball to take it goal-ward with the keeper beaten, but Das stopped it just in time and cleared the danger. Moments later though, he would unfortunately get a telling touch in his side conceding.
Chennaiyin FC had rattled FC Goa early in the opening period when Nelson's cross found Francisco Fernandes, whose header was blocked. The loose ball fell to Inigo Calderon, but his shot was wayward.
The home side had the next attack when Edu Bedia met Lanzarote's freekick with a weak attempt.
But it was the next highlight that really stood out. Naveen produced some exceptional goalkeeping to keep Goa in the match. Bikramjit Singh and Jeje steamed forward and the former's rebounded shot fell to the latter. Jeje hit it with all he had but Naveen's second save within seconds kept the scoreline at 0-0.
Maybe the saves made him overconfident because when he got a back pass, he tried to disorient Nelson by charging at him and passing it past him. The pass struck Nelson though, and Naveen will have heaved a sigh of relief when the ball bounced right back to him.
Source: ISL Media