Upbeat Chennaiyin FC Take on FC Goa in Battle for the Ages
With the ISL calendar in full swing, Chennaiyin FC play host to FC Goa at the Marina Arena on the 21st of October.
The Marina Machans, a near poetic alliteration in the local language Tamil, as they are colloquially known in the region have started the season on a positive note as they have racked up 4 points from the opening two games against quality opposition in ATK Mohun Bagan and Bengaluru FC.
Thomas Brdaric’s men started the season with a win in Kolkata against the formidable Mariners as goals from Rahim Ali and Kwame Karikari notched up an opening round win for the boys in blue, which they followed up with a gritty performance to dig out a draw against Sunil Chhetri-led Bengaluru outfit, despite falling behind within the first ten minutes of the game to a Roy Krishna goal, in front of their boisterous home fans who feasted on the return of their team to the Marina Arena after the COVID imposed two and a half year hiatus.
Brdaric, who had mentioned his penchant for consistency in terms of the makeup of the starting squad would possibly stick to the same line up he fielded against ATK and Bengaluru, with the exception of the forced change he would have to accommodate as mainstay goalkeeper Debjit Majumder will be sidelined with the suspension he picked up following a red card in the team’s first home game of the season.
One other likely change the German coach might opt for is to hand Karikari a start against the Gaurs after the Ghanaian’s opening day heroics against the Kolkata based team. It remains to be seen as to who he would replace with Petar Sliskovic coming big in the game against Simon Grayson’s team from Karnataka and Rahim Ali putting in a shift each time he has been called up to the starting eleven.
Visitors Goa opened their campaign with a nail biting win over the other team from Kolkata, East Bengal FC, as they grafted to a 1-2 win at the Vivekanandha Yuba Bharathi Krirangan in West Bengal.
FC Goa, under the watchful eye of Spanish coach Carlos Pena, who is a cult hero in the region after his exploits representing the football mad state as a player, has built a solid team comprising of hard working Indian talents such as Brandon Fernandes, Glan Martins, Anwar Ali to name a few and players from the Iberian’s homeland including the likes of their match winner last time around, Edu Bedia, Alvaro Vazquez, Marc Valiente and Iker Guarrotxena.
The teams have previously locked horns 21 times in the history of Indian Super League with the side from Goa in the lead with respect to Head to head encounters.
The Gaurs have triumphed on eleven occasions while Chennaiyin have picked up the win eight times. Two matchups have ended with the teams sharing honours.
Brdaric will have an eye on his unit’s unbeaten start to the campaign as he heads back to the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Madras, which welcomed the 47-year-old and his lads with pomp and show, for the high stakes encounter against Pena’s outfit.
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