Chennaiyin FC suffers huge defeat in its ISL opener

FC Goa struck the right chords on the field to ease past Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in its first game of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 season at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin FC suffers huge defeat in its ISL opener
CFC goalkeeper Vishal Kaith (in green) kept his side in the hunt in the first half, but was let down

South Goa

The last season runner-up was a step ahead of its opponent in all areas. New signing Seiminlen Doungel scored on his debut, breaking the deadlock in the 30th minute. All-time ISL top-scorer Ferran Corominas struck in the 62nd minute and substitute Carlos Pena added a third in the 81st to consign an unimpressive Chennaiyin to a huge defeat.

The host was quick to get on the ball and spray passes around right from the start. However, it was the visitor which first went close. Romanian midfielder Dragos Firtulescu was fed through on goal in the 12th minute, but a last-ditch Seriton Fernandes challenge prevented a catastrophic start for the home team.

Sergio Lobera’s men soon regained their rhythm to pose a serious threat to the Chennaiyin defence. In the 19th minute, Corominas picked up the ball from midfield and released Doungel into the box.

CFC goalkeeper Vishal Kaith was on to the ball in a flash before Goa’s new signing could pounce and take a shot.

A minute later, Manvir Singh attempted a powerful strike after making room for himself at the edge of the box. And once again, Kaith was up to the task, pulling off a diving save to his left. Goa’s intent in the attacking third was rewarded at the half-hour mark. Manvir beat his marker and crossed into the box from the right flank.

The striker’s ball took a double deflection off Eli Sabia and Doungel before rolling into the net. The host remained on top and refused to sit back after taking the lead. Brandon Fernandes’ pile driver just before half-time had Kaith well beaten but the ball flew just wide. Corominas’ curling effort a minute later was tipped away by an acrobatic Kaith, who kept Chennaiyin in the game.

John Gregory replaced Dhanpal Ganesh with Anirudh Thapa in midfield to swing the contest back in his team’s favour. The host, however, proved difficult to break down in the second period as well. Goa continued to create chances and soon doubled its lead. Manvir broke away through the middle and found Jackichand Singh in space to his right.

The winger’s low cross into the centre of the box was guided into the net by Corominas, who scored his 35th league goal. Chennaiyin struggled in the attacking third and was unable to find a way back into the game. Lallianzuala Chhangte did have a chance to pull one back when he tried to curl the ball into the top right corner.

But Mohammed Nawaz produced a brilliant save to preserve Goa’s clean sheet. The home side added a third in the 81st minute and sealed the win when a Brandon free-kick from the left was poked into the net by Pena.

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