ISL: Chennai square off against Goa in battle of leaders
It would be a battle of equals when Chennaiyin FC and Goa FC -- the top two teams on the points table -- go head to head in an Indian Super League match here on Friday.
Chennai: It would be a battle of equals when Chennaiyin FC and Goa FC -- the top two teams on the points table -- go head to head in an Indian Super League match here on Friday.
With just two games each left to play, both the sides are more or less assured of a place in the semifinals and would be aiming to gain the psychological upperhand in tomorrow's match.
A look at their campaigns so far would reveal that Goa have endured more losses, including the home debacle against Chennai earlier in the tournament. The hosts, on the other hand, have been exceptional on home turf guarding their citadel well.
Despite missing a key performer like in-form forward Elano Blumer owing to injury, Chennaiyin have come up with decent performances. The other major players that Chennaiyin are missing include Colombian striker John Stiven Mendoza Valencia and defender Gourmangi Singh.
Injuries might have affected their attack but Chennaiyin's defence remains water-tight. Led by captain-cum-manager Marco Materazzi, the team is well-knit and its on-field cohesion has been noteworthy.
In fact Materazzi is not too concerned about the non-availability of key stars as he feels his team has shown depth with Brazillian Bruno Pelissari rising to the occasion by scoring in the last three matches.
The Indians in the team have also been doing their bit with Balwant Singh managing a goal.
"We have the same injury problems but the morale is still very positive despite the loss to Northeast in between and we are sure to remain top two at the end of tomorrow's game," Materazzi said.
Going into the game, Goa will be fresh after a good break which followed their last group game. Having planned sessions accordingly, Goa would carry forward the winning momentum which has seen them win three matches on the trot.
They have a strong attack with Tolgay Ozbey, Mandar Rao Desai and even Andre Santos.
But even though it is difficult to pick a winner, Chennaiyin would start slight favourites playing at home.