FC Goa face Chennaiyin FC as they look to qualify for semifinal in the match 50 of Indian Super League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai.
Chennaiyin FC have already qualified for the semifinals of the Indian Super League with the win over Kerala on Sunday but will look to capture full points when they host FC Goa and Delhi Dynamos in their remaining two games. Chennai now need just one win in two games to clinch top spot in the standings. A win for Chennai will see them reach an unassailable 25 points to finish on top. Chennai have been unbeatable at home so far, but Goa will be not be an easy opposition.
Down and out after six games into the season with just a win and a draw, Goa is now unbeaten in its last six matches, registering four wins in which they scored 12 goals and conceded just one goal. Two draws and four wins and they find themselves up in second, just a win away from semifinal qualification. Failure to beat Chennai would mean a tough task away from home at mighty Kolkata in their final league game. Goa can close the gap to just one point with a win and will hope for a good result when they take on Atlético de Kolkata in their final match. A draw in this match will mean that Goa get to 19 points while Chennai will be on 23.
Chennaiyin will use the remaining two matches to rotate the squad and give fringe players a chance to perform. Chennai are missing Colombian striker Stiven Mendoza and defender Gourmangi Singh and also key performer like in-form forward Elano Blumer owing to injury. Elano Blumer would be returning to Chennai squad in the next week. The addition of former AC Milan legend Alessandro Nesta will bolster their defence. The Brazilian Bruno Pelissari has filled in superbly for injured marquee player Elano Blumer. Bruno Pelissari even managed to get on to the score sheet three times. The Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua has been excellent for Chennai in the absence of John Stiven Mendoza. Denson Devadas has been impressive in recent weeks and the defensive midfielder has currently put in more tackles than anyone.
Chennaiyin FC Possible starting lineup:
Gennaro Bracigliano , Dhanachandra Singh , Silvestre , Mendy , Djemba-Djemba , Gouramangi Singh , Denson Devadas , Bojan Djordjic , Bruno Pelissari , Balwant Singh , Jeje Lalpekhlua
Goa have a strong attack with Andre Santos, Tolgay Ozbey, Mandar Rao Desai. André Santos has been named as the player of the week, the Brazilian has been in excellent form for Goa and he has seen his side to three impressive victories with important contributions in terms of goals and assists. Santos will look to keep that form running in this key match.Bruno Pinheiro has filled in brilliantly for Youness Bengelloun in the defence after the Frenchman picked up an injury. Pinheiro has complemented Grégory Arnolin ably.Winger Romeo Fernandes is in the form of his life and his inspiring game play has seen Goa notch up three good wins at home and also scored the 100th goal of the ISL. He will want to continue in the same form and get on to the score sheet again. Bikramjit Singh who has also been phenomenal in the defence for Goa.
FC Goa Possible starting lineup:
Jan Seda , Bruno Pinheiro , Narayan Das , Grégory Arnolin , Bikramjit Singh , Romeo Fernandes , Miroslav Slepicka , Clifford Miranda , Tolgay Ozbey , Mandar Rao Desai , André Santos
Chennaiyin FC assistant coach, Vivek Nagul:
“Statistically, we may have qualified but we will have to prepare for this match and must take it game by game. We will use this match to rotate the squad and give fringe players a chance to perform. We will use the next two games as preparation for the semi-finals and we want to work on tactical nuances and will rest players who may have niggling injuries.We will be playing the best team that is available to us.”
“Considering we have travelled for the away games it is a huge relief that we are playing the last two games at home. It will give the team breathing space and more importantly allow the medical team to attend to players with niggling injuries.”
FC Goa manager Zico:
“It is true that we are continuously working and we believe in our work and that is one of the reasons for our upswing in our form. Football is a result of training and hard work done during the week.”
“I am not giving my line-up but we have 23 players fit and available to play tomorrow. I think the strikers are always well positioned and they have never stopped believing in themselves and have kept trying; now they are scoring,”
“We didn’t have an easy time with any other team and we are here playing against Chennai and our next game is in Kolkata; so we will work hard to get the qualification for the top four.”
“The team has changed a lot. It (the defeat) was the first game, I didn’t know many players then, now I know. The same is applicable to Chennayin FC so we’ll see how it pans out but I am confident of winning the game.”
Recent Form (Most Recent First):
Chennaiyin FC: WLWWD
FC Goa: WWWDW
Chennaiyin FC 2 – 1 FC Goa
Picture Courtesy: Indian Super League