Just when it looked like Lallianzuala Chhangte won the game for Chennaiyin FC in the second half, Ishan Pandita scored yet again to eke out a point for the Gaurs.
FC Goa got off to a nervy start as Dheeraj Singh kicked the ball straight to Manuel Lanzarote. However, Dheeraj did well to save Lanzarote’s low shot.
Chennaiyin FC got another chance when Reagan Singh’s cross was flicked on by Rahim Ali but Jakub Sylvestr’s header was wide.
Lanzarote’s free-kick from the right flank was helped on by Reagan Singh but Memo Moura failed to connect his shot properly.
The pressure eventually paid off as Sylvestr broke his goal drought and scored in the 13th minute.
The Slovakian received the ball from Reagan and twisted past a couple of FC Goa defenders before finding the back of the net.
The lead didn’t last long for Chennaiyin FC as Eli Sabia handled an Alexander Romario Jesuraj cross and conceded a penalty.
FC Goa’s prolific forward Igor Angulo beat Vishal Kaith on not one but two occasions from the spot as the referee asked him to re-take the penalty due to player encroachment.
Midfielder Glan Martins played a wonderful diagonal ball for Seriton Fernandes but the FC Goa right-back couldn’t reach it.
Winger Romario continued to look lively but Chennaiyin FC’s left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala was also up to the task during their duels.
After the cooling break, centre-back Eli Sabia ran from deep in his own half and released a shot from outside the box but it was deflected out for a corner.
Soon after, Memo set up Lallianzuala Chhangte for a shot but the Mizo lad dragged his shot wide of the target.
Chennaiyin FC were quite wasteful in the last few minutes of the first half as they missed a couple of easy chances.
Initially, Sylvestr’s strike hit the woodwork after creating a one-on-one opportunity with Dheeraj while Lanzarote blazed his effort over the cross-bar from close range.
On the other end, Angulo also tested Vishal Kaith from distance.
Kaith was called into action immediately in the second half too as Glan Martins connected well from a low cross provided by Romario.
His opponent number Dheeraj Singh also did well to save Sylvestr’s flicked attempt at goal following a testing ball from Jerry Lalrinzuala.
However, the jittery Dheeraj committed a massive mistake when he completely missed a cross from Reagan Singh. The ball fell kindly for Chhangte who tapped it in to help Chennaiyin FC take the lead once again.
The game quietened down for a while before Dheeraj was forced to come off his line and make a crucial challenge.
Glan Martins got a half-chance in the 84th minute off an Edu Bedia free-kick but he couldn’t control his shot and the ball flew high and wide.
FC Goa's super-sub Ishan Pandita also made an attempt from outside the box but his curling shot didn’t test Vishal Kaith.
With just a couple of minutes left in stoppage time, the unthinkable happened as Pandita equalized for FC Goa.
The creative Noguera released Pandita with a fantastic through ball and the forward struck a sweet left-footed shot to beat Kaith.
In the end, both teams shared a point each.
Who was the Hero of the Match?
FC Goa’s 22-year-old forward Ishan Pandita was named as the ‘Hero of the Match’ for scoring the goal that helped his side continue sitting in a comfortable position with respect to the play-off race.
Having played just 21 minutes in six appearances before this match, FC Goa manager Juan Ferrando brought on Pandita in the 66th minute of the match.
The Delhi-native repaid Ferrando’s faith by getting the equalizer for FC Goa in the dying minutes of the match.
The best part of the goal was his superbly-timed run to meet Alberto Noguera’s through ball.
This strike increased his season tally to four goals, just one short of Sunil Chhetri, currently the leading Indian goal-scorer.