Miroslav Slepicka’s two first half assists and a second half goal sealed the clash in favour of FC Goa. FC Goa reaches 21 points, a point behind league leaders Chennaiyin FC. Two of the best teams in Hero Indian Super League clashed among each other at Chennai. Without a doubt tonight’s game could be termed as clash of the titans.
The home dominated the initial 15 minutes spell of the game. In the leadership of Bruno Pelissari and Christian Hidalgo, the Chennai team exhibited great brand of passing football. FC Goa, on the other hand, depended upon stiff defending and crisp counter attacks. The deadlock was broken in the 23rd minute when Romeo Fernandes found the back of the net from a rebound. Mandar Rao Desai took a screamer of a shot from the left side which kissed the cross bar and came back. Romeo converted from the rebound. After the goal FC Goa grew confidence and came back strongly. They started to attack in numbers and in no time reversed the attack index of the game. Suddenly the home was under immense pressure due to a series of attacks from the Goa side. The away side won a free-kick just outside the penalty box in the 40th-minute mark. Ex-Arsenal man Andres Santos curled a spectacular free-kick which hit the inside of the second post and went away. Opponent custodian Shilton Paul had no other option but to stare at the curling free-kick. Just a minute after the brilliant free-kick Santos increased his team’s lead when he scored the second goal from Miroslav Slepicka’s lay-off.
Chennaiyin FC replaced young Indian striker Jayesh Rana, who was ineffective through out,with Balwant Singh. Their problems increased further, when defensive midfielder Eric Djemba Djemba left the field due to injury. Bruno Pelissari too, who was the only creative midfielder in the team was also replaced soon with Haitian international forward Jean Maurice, changing the formation to 4-3-3. FC Goa did not show much urgency as they had the cushion of two first half goals. Czech Republic forward Miroslav Slepicka further increased the lead in the 62nd minute. Mandar Rao Desai’s shot was saved by Shilton Paul and Slepicka finished with ease from the rebound. Slepicka scored his fifth goal of the tournament. Chennaiyin FC pulled one back in the dying moments of the game through Jean Maurice’s strike. The Chennai franchise who had converted their home ground into a fortress had to stare at their first defeat in front of a dominant Goa side.
Both the teams have now booked their semi-final berths after tonight’s result.