Margao: FC Goa were left down and out at home after Chennaiyin FC pulled off one of the biggest upsets this season, when the Marco Materazzi coached-side spoiled the party for the Goans snatching victory away from the home side thus winning the summit clash of the Indian Super League final (ISL) 3-2, here at the electrifying Jawaharlal Nehru stadium on Sunday.
FC Goa went ahead with an unchanged team from the one that beat Delhi Dynamos in the second leg of the semifinal. Their opponents however, made only one change to the team that lost in the second leg against Atletico de Kolkata. Marquee player Elano found himself demoted to the bench while Bruno Pelissari got a start.
A successful Pellisari penalty, an own goal from FC Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani and Stiven Mendoza’s addition to the goal scorer’s list in the dying minutes of the game were enough to seal it for Chennaiyin FC, who have now maintained their perfect away record to Goa.
The mouth-watering affair got off to a tense start after in-form Nigerian striker Dudu Omagbemi was involved in a nasty clash with Chennaiyin defender Mailson Alves. That was the end of Dudu’s game after he was stretchered off the field and into an ambulance, which muted the crowd for a bit.
It was an electric start to the game with the ball moving from one end to the other in the blink of an eye. The chances never really arrived for either teams until Pellisari won the first shot on the goal.
Both teams were goalless at half-time. However, the second half told a different tale. F C Goa made one change in Leo Moura after the Brazilian midfielder picked up a knock was replaced with Thongkhosiem Haokip.
Pellisari opened the flurry of goals in the 54th minute with a penalty. Columbian striker Mendonza was brought down by Pronay Halder. Pellisari’s penalty was stopped after goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani blocked the penalty but Pellisari’s sharp reaction saw him knock the ball back into an empty net.
However, it was not long in the 58th minute when Haokip tapped home the equaliser. The forward was lurking at the far post as a cross came in from the right from local lad Romeo Fernandes.
Chennaiyin could have scored another goal had Mendoza’s penalty not been blocked but it just showed what a resilient outfit Goa was. The match was nearing the full 90 minutes and Joffre Gonzalez was at his best with a blinder of a goal that left Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper Apoula Edel misjudging the ball. Joffre scored to give his team the lead in the 87th minute. FC Goa were awarded a free kick just outside the box and Joffre stepped up to find the back of the net with his left foot.
Chennaiyin FC somehow managed find a way back and from nowhere Laxmikant Kattimani, who was so good in the match made a huge mistake and conceded an own goal. To make matters worse, Mendoza ensured that Goa sleeps early on Sunday night. In the 90th minute Mendoza put his team in the lead to slot home what the winner.
He got past his man on the left side of the box and places the ball into the back of the net with a neat looking finish. Mendoza was showered with awards including the Golden Boot award and the Transformer of the match.
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