FC Goa take on Chennaiyin FC in crucial playoff clash


FC Goa take on Chennaiyin FC in crucial playoff clash

Goa, April 19, 2023: A seventh semi-final appearance in 10 years is on the cards for FC Goa in Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 – but to get there, the Gaurs will have to overcome Chennaiyin FC’s challenge in a single-leg playoff game.


Goa finished the league stage in third place with 45 points, while Chennaiyin FC settled for the sixth position, 18 points behind the Men in Orange. On Saturday, however, when the two teams lock horns against each other at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, none of this will matter.

In what is virtually an eliminator match, the team that wins will advance to the semi-finals where they will take on Mumbai City FC who wrapped up their league campaign as runners-up. Meanwhile, for the side that ends up losing, it will call the curtains down on what would be deemed an underwhelming season.

The Gaffer Speaks

“FC Goa has never won the ISL Cup before, but the main competition for us has always been the regular season. Finally, this is part of the same tournament, and it’s maybe a more important tournament than the others. So, we’ll try to win,” FC Goa head coach Manolo Marquez said at the pre-match press conference, when asked about what he expects from his team this season.


“We will take it step-by-step; try to win tomorrow first, and then speak about the semi-finals which we will play across two legs.


“Tomorrow’s game can be done in 90 minutes, it may go up to 120 minutes and even penalty shootout may happen. It’s not important as to whether we are famous or not. I feel that if we play in a good way,” he further added.


The Spaniard spoke about home advantage as well, saying, “It’s good that we’re playing at home – this could be a crucial factor as well. We need to make the most out of this chance that we have.


“I’m more focused on how we are ready to play tomorrow than the numbers and statistics. Our team should not repeat their first 30 minutes from the game on Sunday, and we have the quality to score one, two or three goals in just ten minutes,” the 55-year-old signed off.

The Task Ahead

It was only six days ago that FC Goa faced off against Chennaiyin FC previously, incidentally at the same venue, in what was both teams’ final match of their respective league campaigns.


Rahim Ali handed the Southerners an early lead as the home side’s fans watched on in shock, but soon enough, the Gaurs regained control.


Borja Herrera struck first, followed by Carlos Martinez from the penalty spot and Brandon Fernandes from close range, and by half-time, the scoresheet read 3-1 in favour of Manolo Marquez and his boys.


Martinez then added a fourth in the second half, bringing an end to Owen Coyle’s three-match winning streak.


More of this will be needed from FC Goa once again, if they would like to add another ISL semi-final appearance into their history books. The rivalry between the two teams adds another angle to the clash, with Chennaiyin FC defeating the Goan outfit in the ISL 2015 final, before knocking them out of the playoffs in both 2018 and 2020.

Goa’s recent clash against the Southerners proved that the hosts can be brilliant and unbeatable on their best days, but it is worth considering that Owen Coyle did not field a full-strength side on the day.

Five key players including Jordan Murray and Rafael Crivellaro were rested due to risk of suspension, while Ankit Mukherjee was also unavailable for selection. That said, Marquez did not field his strongest XI either, so it would be interesting to see how the various individual battles play out on the pitch on Saturday.

About FC Goa

FC Goa is a professional football club based out of Goa that competes in the 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.


FC Goa hold the record for the most goals, joint-most golden boots and most number of playoff appearances (7 in total) in the history of the league, including in the ongoing 2023-24 season.


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 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 are one of the few Indian clubs to have a complete youth development ecosystem. Its U13, U15, U17, U19 and Developmental Teams compete at the highest levels in Goa and India.


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