Indian Super League: FC Goa sail past Chennaiyin, win season opener 3-0

FC Goa defeated Chennaiyin FC 3-0 in their opening Hero Indian Super League season 6 encounter at the Fatorda Stadium on Wednesday. Len Doungel, Ferran Corominas and Carlos Peña bagged the goals for Sergio Lobera’s side.

Sergio Lobera’s team started with Manvir Singh up front, supported by reigning ISL Golden Boot holder Ferran Corominas. The Indian international was flanked by Len Doungel and Jackichand Singh to his either side.

Brandon Fernandes started in midfield, along with Lenny Rodrigues. Mohammad Nawaz was the man between the sticks for FC Goa’s season opener. The visitors lined up with Dragos Firtulescu up front, with Thoi Singh, Andre Schembri and Lallinzuala Chhangte playing behind the Romanian.

It was a fast start to the game as Brandon and Jacki teamed up to win a corner. The resulting corner was cleared away by the Chennaiyin defence. An excellent last-ditch tackle by Seriton Fernandes then denied Dragos a one-on-one opportunity.

Coro then found space to play Len Doungel through on goal but his effort was denied by Vishal Kaith in the 19th minute to keep the scores level. Manvir produced a beautiful turn a minute later as his snap-shot was saved by a diving Kaith.

The visitors had their first real opening when Chhangte received the ball in the box but Nawaz showed a safe pair of gloves to hold the ball.

The hosts finally had their breakthrough when Manvir’s jinking run saw the ball fall to new signing Len, who tapped it in for the opener. The Indian striker’s heroics didn’t end there; seven minutes later, he would dance past a couple of Chennaiyin defenders, bamboozling them and laying the ball off to Jacki whose shot was blocked.

Near the end of the half, FC Goa’s number 10 would almost pull off a ‘Brandon special’ as a 40-yarder slipped, dipped and hissed menacingly, just kissing the top of Kaith’s net, leaving the Chennaiyin keeper scrambling on his line. The half ended with FC Goa leading the visitors 1-0.

At the start of the second half, John Gregory replaced Dhanpal Ganesh with Anirudh Thapa. Len had another attempt at goal in the 57th minute, but Kaith was equal to it and caught the ball this time.

Coro got his 35th ISL goal and his first of the season as Manvir’s lay-off found Jacki and the Manipuri crossed it to the Spaniard, who slotted it home. 

Chennaiyin’s best chance of the half came through Chhangte, but Nawaz flew to his left to deny the Mizo. At the other end, Jacki and Len had great chances to extend Goa’s lead but couldn’t keep their shots on target.

Carlos Peña then wrapped up the points for Lobera’s men as a Brandon free-kick was put in by the Spanish central defender’s left boot. Princeton Rebello, Liston Colaco and Saviour Gama all made late cameos as they replaced Jackichand Singh, Len Doungel and Manvir Singh in the dying minutes of the match.

The defence and Nawaz kept another clean sheet as the Gaurs saw out the match 3-0. With this win in their opening match, FC Goa go top of the table with a goal difference of +3.