Match day four in the Indian Super League featured Chennayin FC and FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium Goa. Goa’s marquee signing Robert Pires started the game but Chennai’s Marco Materazzi kept himself on the bench being the player manager.
Materazzi fabricated a 3-5-2 formation for Chennayin FC with Elano Blumer and Balwant Singh upfront. Abhishek Das and Dhanachandra Singh operated as wing backs. Mikel Silvestre too featured in the starting XI. Zico opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation with Robert Pires operating from the central midfield position. FC Goa started the match on a very positive note. They enjoyed majority of the ball possession in the first 15 minutes and even came very close to score in or to occasions. Mikel Silvestre, Gourmangi Singh and Bernard Mendy handled the pressure brilliantly and Chennai started counter attacking.
In the 32nd minute, Dhanachandra Singh’s cross was met by Elano inside the penalty box. His shot was blocked by the Goan defense but was not cleared properly. Balwant Singh took the opportunity and comfortably placed the ball in the back of the net, thus becoming the first Indian player in ISL to score a goal. The second goal came from the foot of Brazilian Elano who converted the goal from a blinder of a free-kick from the edge of the box.
FC Goa started attacking from the very beginning of the second half. Experienced India international Clifford Miranda was brought in place of young Holicharan Narzary, who had a fantastic game. Miranda’s inclusion in the left wing brought flair and pace into the team. Robert Pires was as disappointing as he was in the first half. The 40-year-old French man lacked pace and failed to produce any creativity. In was surprising to see Zico keeping Pires for the entire 90 minutes. In the 65th minute mark, Goa’s French center back, Gregory Arnolin restored parity by scoring from a header. For the last 20 minutes of the game, Marco Materazzi decided to shut shop as he introduced an extra defender. Late substitute Ranti Martins failed to score twice from one on one situation with the goalkeeper.
Indian Super League’s first round matches came to an end with an exciting game of football. Zico’s team was extremely entertaining despite the fact that they lost the match. The FC Goa should not be disheartened and take a lot of positives from their team’s performance.
FC Goa XI: Jan Seda, Prabir, Arnolin, Bengelloun, Narayan, Carvalho, Pires, Herlein, Gabriel, Marcelino, Narzary.
Chennaiyin FC XI: Bracigliano, Abhishek, Gouramangi, Silvestre, Mendy, Dhanachandra, Elano, Djordjic, Devadas, Balwant, Bruno.