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ISL 2020-21: FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC - 4 things we learned

Chennaiyin FC were so dominant that they could have scored four or five goals easily. Courtesy: ISL
Chennaiyin FC were so dominant that they could have scored four or five goals easily. Courtesy: ISL
Karthik Raj
Modified 20 Dec 2020, 00:29 IST

Chennaiyin FC emerged 2-1 winners over FC Goa in the 33rd match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League Season (ISL), at the Fatorda Stadium in Margao, Goa. After going into half-time with a 1-1 scoreline, an early Rahim Ali goal in the second half proved to be enough for Chennaiyin FC to bag their second win of the season.

Chennaiyin FC started in amazing fashion as skipper Rafael Crivellaro scored directly from a corner kick in the 5th minute. FC Goa fought back strongly through Jorge Ortiz as he equalized four minutes later. Ortiz dribbled his way into the midfield before passing the ball to Alexander Romario Jesuraj. Romario cut the ball back into the box with Ortiz powering it into the back of the net.

After this goal, Chennaiyin FC still posed a lot of threats from both open play and set-pieces as FC Goa struggled defensively. However, the duo of Jakub Sylvestr and Lallianzuala Chhangte were guilty of missing sitters.

The second half didn’t start well as Crivellaro missed an easy chance from Chhangte’s cross. But he redeemed himself with a superb cross to set up youngster Rahim Ali for a simple tap-in goal in the 53rd minute. Chennaiyin FC continued to threaten but manager Csaba Laszlo made some defensive substitutions to close out the game and ensure three crucial points.

Here are four things we learned from this fixture:

#4 Chennaiyin FC kept missing sitters

Right from the first whistle, it looked like a shooting practice session for Chennaiyin FC and one in which their players couldn’t find the back of the net. In just the 4th minute of the game, Anirudh Thapa created a wonderful opportunity for Jakub Sylvestr, but the striker kicked the ball straight at Mohammad Nawaz. Sylvestr was found wanting once again in the 23rd minute when he failed to find the target after Lallianzuala Chhangte sent in a low cross.

Just a few minutes later, Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev set up a tap-in for Lallianzuala Chhangte, but he struck it over the cross-bar. With a couple of minutes to go in the first half, Chhangte missed a sitter yet again. Fatkhulloev laid the ball for Jerry Lalrinzuala and the full-back’s shot was diverted by Mohammad Nawaz’s knee. The ball fell to Chhangte with an open goal but he blazed it over once again as his teammates screamed in frustration.

Even at the beginning of the second half, Chennaiyin FC threatened to fluff chances with Crivellaro misfiring in front of the goal. Chhangte sent in a low ball to the middle, but the attacking midfielder sent his shot way over the goalpost. Fortunately, Rahim Ali scored soon after to get Chennaiyin FC all the three points.


#3 FC Goa defensively suspect with a new set-up

Mohammad Nawaz and Co. didn
Mohammad Nawaz and Co. didn't exhibit any confidence at all during set-pieces. Courtesy: ISL

After the loss against ATK Mohun Bagan, Juan Ferrando had lamented how tough the packed schedule was for FC Goa. As a result, Ferrando didn’t start two crucial players as center-backs — Ivan Gonzalez and defensive midfielder Lenny Rodrigues.

In their absence, Edu Bedia and Alberto Noguera failed to assert themselves as Chennaiyin FC created waves of attacks. The trio of Rafael Crivellaro, Anirudh Thapa, and Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev exploited both centrally and on the wings too with intelligent movement.

Just like it was seen during the game against ATKMB, goal-keeper Mohammad Nawaz was guilty of dwelling on the ball too much. When Chennaiyin FC’s forwards pressed, Nawaz generally came up with a poor kick. The young custodian was also found wanting during set-pieces as he failed to communicate with his defenders. FC Goa looked like they will concede off every corner especially during the first 45 minutes.


The possible return of Ivan Gonzalez should provide some solidity to the backline but Goa’s defense might be an area of concern. FC Goa only have one clean sheet in seven matches and that is definitely not a good start.

#2 Chennaiyin FC look threatening with a fully-fit side

In the very first match against Jamshedpur FC, Chennaiyin FC had played a balanced style of football and looked impressive. In the last few matches, however, Chennaiyin FC missed a few key players like Enes Sipovic, Rafael Crivellaro, and Anirudh Thapa for varying periods due to injuries.

This meant that the two-time ISL champions looked suspect at both ends of the field. With Crivellaro and Thapa back for this match, Chennaiyin FC were back to their best.

As we saw in the previous season, Crivellaro is not only a good dribbler, but he also brings others into play. Even when FC Goa marked Crivellaro, it left a lot of space for the other Chennaiyin FC forwards to attack. This is going to be a huge advantage against most teams in this league. The fact that Lallianzuala Chhangte and Jakub Sylvestr could still improve by miles is ominous news for CFC’s opponents.

#1 FC Goa lack creativity in scoring goals

Even the likes of Jorge Ortiz and Brandon Fernandes might have to step up a gear or two for FC Goa. Courtesy: ISL
Even the likes of Jorge Ortiz and Brandon Fernandes might have to step up a gear or two for FC Goa. Courtesy: ISL

Earlier, FC Goa’s poor defensive work was talked about as a huge issue. However, even after playing several attack-minded players in this game, Goa struggled to break open Chennaiyin FC’s defense. The skillful Jorge Ortiz worked hard and often delivered delightful through balls while Alexander Romario Jesuraj showed his talent on the right flank.

However, these two players, with the addition of Brandon Fernandes, have been the only attacking outlets for the Gaurs. The team hasn’t been able to see the best of Alberto Noguera. Igor Angulo too has been isolated in the last couple of matches. But that isn’t surprising since he is more of an elite finisher, rather than a complete forward who will create chances for the others.

It is safe to say that FC Goa haven’t quite replaced the precision brought in by the likes of Ahmed Jahouh, Hugo Boumous, and Jackichand Singh. Even striker Ferran Corominas often used to drop back into the midfield to receive balls. Such movement will help FC Goa look a much threatening side than what they have looked so far in this season.

Published 20 Dec 2020, 00:29 IST
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