FC Goa open ISL season 6 against Chennaiyin FC

The time is here. FC Goa are back to their stomping grounds as they take on Chennaiyin FC in the season opener at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday.

The Indian Super League opener promises to be a cracker of a contest as two teams with numerous memorable contests in the past take to the field once again. John Gregory’s men play their opener against FC Goa two years after the two teams played their first match of the ISL season 4 in Chennai.

That match ended 3-2 in favour of the Gaurs but won the semi-finals against FC Goa 4-1 on aggregate. Sergio Lobera’s team had the measure of Chennaiyin FC in all three of their encounters last season, including the Hero Super Cup final.

The two teams have faced each other 13 times in ISL history, with the honours even between both sides. The Gaurs’ last match of the 2016 campaign was the highest scoring game in ISL history, with Sahil Tavora’s late winner giving the home side a 5-4 win at Fatorda.

Last season’s Indian Super League finalists will miss the services of the suspended Ahmed Jahouh, who was sent off after collecting two yellow cards in the season 5 finale.

The Challenge Ahead

Chennaiyin finished ISL 5 in last spot, collecting the lowest points tally in the league’s history with 9 points from 18 games.

The Marina Machans however recovered strongly in the Super Cup and reached the final, where they lost 2-1 to FC Goa. Chennaiyin had defeated Mumbai City FC, NorthEast United and ATK en route to the final.

The two-time ISL champions have rebuilt their squad over the summer, also adding Indian international Lallinzuala Chhangte to their ranks.

The Gaffer’s Call

The Gaurs had their best season till date, scoring 42 goals and recording 11 wins in total. Coro won his second straight Golden Boot, scoring 16 goals in the ISL. The team also won the Super Cup to cap off a wonderful season.

Sergio Lobera recognised the challenges of following a successful season. “We will try and top last season but it will be difficult. In order to do that, we will have to win all domestic trophies on offer. Winning the approval of our supporters is also a trophy, so we will aim to play our usual style of football.

“The first two fixtures against Chennaiyin and Bengaluru are the toughest we could have wished for. But we have to aim to do well at home, and our first two games are at Fatorda, so our fans will be there to back us,” he added.