Goa goes top of the ISL 2022-23 table with a 2-0 win over Chennaiyin￼
Chennaiyin suffered a 2-0 defeat against Goa in their second match of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season on Friday at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Redeem Tlang and Noah Sadaoui scored the two goals for the Gaurs.
Having played a fighting 1-1 draw against Bengaluru in their last match, Chennaiyin’s head coach Thomas Brdaric understandably did not make many tweaks to his starting XI. The only change included Debjit Majumder, the goalkeeper who was handed marching orders in the last match, being replaced by Devansh Debas.
Similarly, Goa’s coach Carlos Pena also opted to field a pretty similar starting XI, as this team defeated East Bengal 2-1 in their first match. Sadaoui, who looked lively in his cameo appearance during the last match, was preferred to Alvaro Vazquez.
Goa had the first chance of the game in the 3rd minute, courtesy of the free-kick. As he did in the last match, Edu Bedia also made the set-piece count once again, but he missed the target by not a big margin.
It was then Chennaiyin’s turn to get on the front foot, as they had their first chance in the 8th minute. A ball from the right flank found Petar Sliskovic in space, but the Serbian striker’s shot was saved by Dheeraj Singh.
The mistake proved to be costly, as the Gaurs opened the scoring only three minutes later. After receiving a long ball from the deep, Sadaoui did well to launch a precise cross for Tlang, who then complimented the Moroccan’s skills by placing his shot past the inexperienced Debas.
Brdaric’s team had two glorious opportunities to strike back in the 20th minute, but on both occasions, Dheeraj came to Goa’s rescue. At first, Rahim Ali struck a powerful shot after receiving a pass from Prasanth Karuthadathkuni, but the Gaurs’ custodian tipped his effort onto the crossbar. The ball eventually landed at Sliskovic’s feet, whose shot was once again saved by the 22-year-old.
Only a minute later, it was the turn for Pena’s men to squander a chance, as Sadaoui struck his shot wide from a good position. Midfielder Glan Martins also went for glory in the 35th minute, but he could not find the target either.
A few minutes before half-time, Goa got a free-kick, which saw Bedia delivering a dangerous ball into the box. Iker Guarrotxena gave a glimpse of his talent by attempting an audacious bicycle kick, but it did not trouble Debas.
However, it was not the last effort of the half. Sliskovic had yet another attempt in the 44th minute, and once again, he was denied a goal by Dheeraj. On the other hand, Sadaoui found himself in a great position only a minute later, but as he did earlier in the game, he dragged his shot wide.
Brdaric’s half-time talk almost paid dividends as the Marina Machans had an excellent chance to equalize only four minutes into the second half. Karuthadathkuni played another delightful cross for Ali, and while the latter’s first attempt was saved by Dheeraj, he could not even keep his shot on target this time around.
Right at the hour-mark, Sadaoui found himself in space, but as he did throughout the game until that point, the former Maccabi Haifa player struck his attempt wide of the target. Minutes later, Brandon Fernandes and Guarrotxena also tried their luck, but neither could get on the scoresheet.
After the early spell of possession, Chennaiyin was mostly quiet in the second half until Vincy Barretto made a darting run down the right flank in the 83rd minute before delivering a cross. Aakash Sangwan did well to get to the end of the cross but snatched at his effort instead of showing composure.
In the 88th minute, the Gaurs had a brilliant opportunity of sealing the three points when a ball from Sadaoui found Fernandes completely unmarked, but the India international could not get a proper connection on the ball.
However, it did not matter much in the context of the outcome, as Goa eventually found their second goal only a couple of minutes later. A long ball from the deep by Makan Chothe found Sadaoui unmarked, and though he had a player in blue ahead of him alongside Debas, he went for glory yet again. On the umpteenth time of asking, the Moroccan was successful, making the score 2-0.
With this win, Goa climbed to the top of the table with six points from two matches. They will now take on Hyderabad next Saturday, while Chennaiyin, who are now occupying the fifth position, will have a long break before taking on East Bengal on 4th November.