Sadaoui, Dheeraj star in Goa’s win over Chennaiyin

Goa struck once in each half – through Redeem Tlang in the first and Noah Sadaoui in the second – to notch up its second successive victory. The fleet-footed Sadaoui, with a goal and an assist in his first start for Goa, stole the show alongside goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.
Dheeraj Singh's (in green) otherwise memorable night came to an agonising end because of an injury
Dheeraj Singh's (in green) otherwise memorable night came to an agonising end because of an injuryJustin George

CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC tasted defeat for the first time in the Indian Super League Season 9 as it suffered a 0-2 loss at the hands of FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Friday.

Goa struck once in each half – through Redeem Tlang in the first and Noah Sadaoui in the second – to notch up its second successive victory. The fleet-footed Sadaoui, with a goal and an assist in his first start for Goa, stole the show alongside goalkeeper Dheeraj Singh.

For the third match in succession, Chennaiyin conceded the opening goal. A long punt forward from Edu Bedia was well received on the left flank by Sadaoui, who beat Fallou Diagne all ends up. After a quick turn, the Moroccan unleashed a precise left-footed cross for Redeem to head home in the 10th minute. Winger Redeem beat his marker, Narayan Das, at the near post, before coming up with a stooping header that rippled the net.

Goa was grateful to its starting goalkeeper Dheeraj, the diminutive shotstopper standing like a wall either side of the deadlock breaker. A few minutes prior to Redeem’s goal, an onrushing Dheeraj did not let Petar Sliskovic put his name on the scorecard after the Croatian striker was slipped through on goal by Julius Duker.

In the 19th minute, Dheeraj made a stunning double save to keep the lead intact. He first tipped a Rahim Ali strike onto the crossbar, but the loose ball fell kindly for Sliskovic. However, the 22-year-old guarded the Goa goal by denying the CFC striker from close range.

Around the 25-minute mark, Dheeraj came to the visitor’s rescue once again, this time diverting a Jiteshwor Singh shot after flying off his line. The young goalkeeper continued to be a nuisance for the home team as he stood in the way of Sliskovic, who hit the ball from an acute angle on the right a few minutes before the half-time whistle.

For the guest, Sadaoui and midfielder Glan Martins had glorious chances to double the advantage, with both going wide before the break. Dheeraj, who otherwise had a memorable night between the posts, was in agony when he was stretchered off the field around the hour-mark and replaced by Arshdeep Singh.

Dheeraj had looked in discomfort right from the moment he clattered into teammate Iker Guarrotxena while attempting to avert danger. Moments after the substitution, Jiteshwor made a calamitous pass that set Sadaoui free. The versatile Goa forward sent his effort wide despite covering acres of grass with a fine run.

But, Sadaoui put the match to bed in the second minute of stoppage time with a curling finish into the bottom right corner. The Moroccan got on the end of a hopeful aerial ball and outran Narayan with ease before making it 2-0, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

RESULT: Chennaiyin FC 0 lost to FC Goa 2 (R Tlang 10, N Sadaoui 90)

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