Chennai: Chennaiyin FC heaped misery again on FC Goa by handing them their third successive defeat in the Hero Indian Super League at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai, on Thursday.
Chennaiyin had won last year’s final in dramatic fashion after scoring two late goals in Goa and when they met again on Thursday, the defending champions needed no such late drama after scoring twice in the first half for a 2-0 victory at home.
The victory helped Chennaiyin FC accumulate four points from three matches and leapfrog mid-table while FC Goa are placed at the bottom of the pool without any point from three matches. FC Goa is the only team without a point in the league.
Chennaiyin FC manager Marco Materazzi had told his boys that he wouldn’t be around to guide them next season if they do not improve and qualify for the semi-finals. The message, however, was lost when the match kicked off as Chennaiyin FC were tentative and made mistakes in defence.
In the second minute itself, FC Goa could have gone ahead when Fulganco Cardozo's long ball forward should have been easy collection for goalkeeper Karanjit Singh but the goalkeeper instead tried to control the ball with his feet and gave it away to Reinaldo Oliveira. The Brazilian, however, could not stay on his feet and did not get anything for his fall inside the danger zone.
Once the nerves were settled, Chennaiyin FC went ahead immediately. The breakthrough came in the 15th minute as Mulder collected a ball from Raphael Augusto just outside the box, kept his calm and curled the ball past a diving Goa goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani even before the defenders could react.
Chennaiyin FC made it 2-0 in the 26th minute, this time in fortunate circumstances. Chennaiyin FC captain Mehrajuddin Wadoo was looking to cross the ball inside the goalmouth but instead managed to get a wicked deflection off Goa defender Richard Dumas which beat Kattimani under the Goa bar again.
FC Goa had chances to fight their way back into the game but lacked sharpness. Rafael Coelho was the most likely player to score in the first 45 minutes. First the Brazilian striker’s header from Joffre Gonzalez’s cross sailed just wide and then he tried to pick the top corner from a narrow angle but the ball went wide in the 42nd minute.
In the second session, FC Goa chief coach Zico tried to change the equation with a flurry of attacking changes but Chennaiyin FC defended in numbers.
The hosts should have won by a much bigger margin had the strikers kept their cool. Davide Succi had a golden chance to make it 3-0 when Mulder’s long overhead ball saw him within touching distance of the goal, only for Kattimani to get a touch.
Then Mulder found Baljit Sahni with another well-measured cross but the Indian striker could only hit the side-netting.