FC Goa look to return to winning ways against in-form Chennaiyin FC
The FC Goa campaign in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 is heating up as expected, with the Gaurs set to clash with Chennaiyin FC in an intense battle on Sunday.
This away fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai marks Goa’s third successive away match this season, following assignments away from home against East Bengal FC and Bengaluru FC which resulted in a win and a draw, respectively. The Men in Orange are currently riding high, placed third in the ISL 2023-24 standings with 10 points from four matches.
A victory against Owen Coyle’s boys could propel them back to the top of the table, something that the Gaurs’ faithful would surely enjoy before the league pauses for a two-week international break as India participate in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The Gaffer Speaks
FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez expressed his enthusiasm ahead of the crucial encounter against Chennaiyin FC.
“This is going to be a very difficult game, not just because every game is a challenge. When fixtures are released, people say each team has to play home and away games against every other team anyways. But, the more important thing is – how is your team playing and how is the other team playing when you have to face them,” he said at the pre-match press conference on Friday.
“Chennaiyin FC are in good form right now, and Owen (Coyle) is a very clever coach who is one of the best in the history of the ISL for me. It’s going to be tough, hence, to face them right now.
The tactician further added that the jury is still out on Noah Sadaoui and Brandon Fernandes’ return to the playing XI, following their injury woes from October.
“Let’s see. They cannot play the full 90 minutes, and to plan with two players going through such a situation is dangerous, at least as starters. It’s true that Noah has recovered faster than what we initially expected, he’s a strong guy. And Brandon, with his dislocation of the elbow, it’s also important as to how well he recovers from it mentally,” he concluded.
In the history of Indian football in general and that of the ISL in particular, the encounters between FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC have been nothing short of spectacular. The numbers speak volumes about the intensity of their rivalry.
The head-to-head record between these two teams favours FC Goa as of right now, with 14 wins, 2 draws, and only 9 losses in 25 matches. Remarkably, the Gaurs have scored 52 goals against Chennaiyin FC, the most against a single team in the league.
Notably, Goa’s encounters with Chennaiyin have resulted in a remarkable 92 goals in just 25 matches, making it the highest-scoring fixture among all ISL sides.
The Marina Machans, however, have not been far behind in this rivalry, having scored 40 goals against the Men in Orange to-date. What’s even more fascinating is that there has not been a single goalless game in the history of their clashes.
The history between these two teams goes way back, with FC Goa making their ISL debut against Chennaiyin FC in 2014, securing a memorable 2-1 victory. Their rivalry has continued with thrilling encounters across the league and even in other competitions, including a recent 4-1 win for Manolo Marquez’s boys in the quarter-finals of Durand Cup 2023.
As both teams step onto the field with impressive current forms – FC Goa with 6 wins, 2 draws, and 1 loss and Chennaiyin FC with 5 wins and 4 losses in 9 games each this season – the stage is set for another epic showdown.
About FC Goa
FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL). Nicknamed the Gaurs, FC Goa has been one of the most consistently successful teams in the ISL – reaching 4 semi-ﬁnals and 2 ﬁnals in 9 seasons.
Heading into the 2023-24 season of the Hero ISL, FC Goa hold the record for the most goals, joint-most golden boots and most number of playoff appearances (6 in total) in the history of the competition.
In 2020, FC Goa also became the first team from India to qualify for the league stages of the AFC Champions League, by virtue of winning the first-ever Hero ISL League Winners Shield in the 2019-20 season.
The Gaurs’ trophy cabinet is further adorned by the 2019 Super Cup, the 2018-19 Goa Pro League, the 2020 Goa Police Cup and the 2021 Durand Cup.
Co-owned by Mr Jaydev Mody, Mr Akshay Tandon and Mr Virat Kohli, FC Goa is one of the few Indian clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. Its U13, U15, U17, U18, U20 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and India.