Goa vs Chennaiyin: Preview and Prediction

Goa face a make-or-break tie against Chennaiyin to keep alive their playoffs hopes

Carlos Pena’s side occupies the final berth to qualify for playoffs and they are level on points with Odisha. With just two matches remaining to seal their place in the knockouts, the next couple of games will be very crucial for both sides. 

Goa will host Chennaiyin at the Fatorda Stadium on Thursday, as they look to bounce back from a 5-3 hammering against Mumbai City last week. Noah Sadaoui, Brandon Fernandes and Brison Fernandes all found the back of the net for their side but couldn’t help turn around the outcome of the match. 

While Thomas Brdaric’s side is no longer in the hunt for the knockouts, they will hope to spoil the party and finish as high as possible in the table. The Marina Machans come into this fixture on the back of a convincing 2-0 win over East Bengal with Kwame Karikari and Rahim Ali netting the two goals. 

Current Form

Talking about the current form of both teams, they’ve both been marred by inconsistency and that’s they find themselves in the mid-table. Pena’s side has taken 27 points from 18 games, while Brdaric and Co have earned 21 points from 18 outings. 

After a bright start to the campaign, the Gaurs lost their momentum as the season progressed and hence they find themselves in a two-way race with Josep Gombau’s side to finish in the playoffs with just two matches remaining. 

While the Goan outfit will lock horns with Bengaluru in their final league outing after facing the Marina Machans, the Juggernauts are scheduled to play the bottom two placed teams, NorthEast United and Jamshedpur respectively. 

The next two games will be ‘make or break’ for both clubs and thus Pena’s men will hope for all three points in their next outing. Meanwhile, Brdaric’s men have blown hot and cold all season and just as they were about to build steam, the injury to Abdenasser El Khayati dented their knockout hopes. 

Their most recent win last week was their first victory in 8 outings, the two-time ISL champs last triumphed against the Highlanders in December. The German coach will look to start fresh from next season, but before that, they will hope to end things on a high. 

Head-to-Head Record

In a total of 22 league meetings between these two clubs, the Marina Machans have a slight advantage in terms of their head-to-head record having prevailed 12 times, while the Gaurs have claimed 8 victories. Only 2 matches between them have ended all square. Pena’s side prevailed 2-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season. 

Team News

Brdaric has been experimenting with his side in recent weeks and they lined up in an attacking 4-3-3 formation against the Red and Golds. Since the Marina Machans have nothing to lose, they should ideally keep the same formation against the Gaurs as well. 

Ajith Kumar and Fallou Diagne returned to the lineup and they will be expected to start while the German may not tinker too much with his winning formula. Samik Mitra will retain his place in goal with Ajith and Fallou will be joined by Gurmukh Singh and Aakash Sangwan. 

Edwin Sydney Vanspaul is likely to start in the engine room alongside Anirudh Thapa and Julius Duker. Karikari and El Khayati are also expected to start, partnered by Vincy Barretto. 

Pena meanwhile shifted to a 4-5-1 to counter the Islanders but might return to his tried and tested 4-2-3-1. Dheeraj Singh is expected to start between the sticks, Aibanbha Dohling may come in to replace Seriton Fernandes, while Fares Arnaout, Anwar Ali, and Sanson Pereira have been ever-present. 

Ayush Chhetri and Edu Bedia are likely to form the double pivot, behind the attacking trio of Brandon, Noah, and Devendra Murgaonkar with Iker Guarrotxena expected to lead the line. 

Predicted Starting XIs

Goa (4-2-3-1): Dheeraj Singh; Aibanbha Dohling, Fares Arnaout, Anwar Ali, Sanson Pereira; Ayush Dev Chhetri, Edu Bedia; Brandon Fernandes, Noah Sadaoui, Devendra Murgaonkar; Iker Guarrotxena. 

Chennaiyin (4-3-3): Samik Mitra; Ajith Kumar, Fallou Diagne, Gurmukh Singh, Aakash Sangwan; Edwin Sydney Vanspaul, Anirudh Thapa, Julius Duker; Kwame Karikari, Abdenasser El Khayati, Vincy Barretto. 


Given the recent form of both these sides, it’s difficult to imagine either side entering the contest as favourites. The Gaurs have a lot riding on this game while the Marina Machans have nothing but pride to salvage. With all things considered, a draw might be the most likely outcome.