ISL: FC Goa push for second place with clinical win

FC Goa
FC Goa players are ecstatic after a strike. Photo: FSDL/ISL

Margao: FC Goa intensified their pursuit of a second-place finish in the ISL 2023-24 league stage with a clinical 4-1 win over Chennaiyin FC at the Fatorda Stadium on Sunday night. 

As a result, the Gaurs round off their league campaign with 45 points from 22 matches. They are thus level on points with Mohun Bagan Super Giant who have a game in hand. 

The Mariners will play their final league fixture against Mumbai City FC at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata on Monday. A victory will see them become the ISL 2023-24 League Shield winners, whereas a draw will mean they finish second. In such a scenario, the Mariners will directly qualify fior the semifinals, while the Gaurs have to battle for a place in the last-four through the playoffs route. Goa will clinch the second spot and a place in the semifinals if Mohun Bagan lose to Mumbai.

Chennaiyin, who are already into the playoffs, began the game strongly, as a strike by Rahim Ali in the 13th minute put them in control in this away clash. 

However, it was all Goa from there onwards. Their skilful frontline joined hands to trouble the Marina Machans from all ends of the box. It started with Carlos Martinez moving the ball up on the right before laying it in the path of Seriton Fernandes near the touchline. The latter crossed in the ball and it was tapped home by midfielder Borja Herrera in the 33rd minute to bag the equaliser. 

Live wire winger Boris Singh eased things for Goa by drawing a foul off Sachu Siby inside the penalty area in the 35th minute, leading to the sending off of the latter. Martinez, who was a key character in building up Herrera’s goal, stepped up for the spot-kick duties and completed them effortlessly by hitting the ball into the bottom left corner. 

Home favourite Brandon Fernandes made it 3-1. The Chennaiyin defence wore an arguably disoriented look after the team lost Siby. Brandon helped the Gaurs gather a two-goal lead heading into the half-time break. 

Martinez kept the pressure on the Chennaiyin late into the game as well. The Spaniard was smart in his final third positioning , and he provided a timely evidence of the same by bagging his brace in the 72nd minute off a precise delivery into the box by former Bengaluru FC attacker Udanta Singh. 

(With inputs from ISL Media)

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