Super Cup: FC Goa overcomes Chennaiyin in thrilling final to win first title

Chennaiyin dominated the first half of the Super Cup final before Goa came back strongly in the second period to tilt the contest in its favour and lift its first title.

FC Goa lifts the Super Cup 2019 trophy after defeating Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in an exhilrating contest.   -  Twitter/@IndianFootball

In a game of two halves, FC Goa banished the ghosts of past finals by overcoming a determined Chennaiyin FC 2-1 to lift the Super Cup title, its first trophy in five years, here at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.

Chennaiyin dominated the first half without a breakthrough before Goa came back strongly and struck the decisive goals in the second period through Ferran Corominas and Brandon Fernandes to tilt the contest in its favour.

Super Cup final: FC Goa wins first trophy - As it happened

Reprieve for Goa

Chennaiyin was sharper from kick-off; winning the ball back with aggression and moving the ball around with pace. Its superiority came to a head on when it pinned Goa into its own box between the 23rd and 26th minute, which resulted in four successive corner kicks. Raphael Augusto, Eli Sabia and Dhanpal Ganesh were lining up inside the Goan box and having a crack at Mohammad Nawaz’s goal. Nawaz and Mourtada Fall made some crucial interventions.

A stunned Goa found a much-need reprieve in the form of a long clearance from the back.

At the other end, Chennaiyin’s centre-backs Malison Alves and Sabia appeared comfortable cutting off crosses into their box. Goa regained its composure and passed it around well but did not create a chance of note. Goa ended the half with two shots on target to Chennaiyin’s five; the only meaningful effort coming from distance when Bedia stung the gloves of Karanjit Singh.

When the half-time whistle blew, one would be forgiven for wondering which among these two teams ended ISL-runner up (Goa) and in the last place with the lowest points total in history (Chennaiyin).

Bedia asserts control

Sergio Lobera’s men needed to react better in the second period if it had to avoid a second consecutive final loss in the space of a month and it did. Goa had a shy at goal with Jackichand’s snap-shot from outside the box shaving the outside post of Karanjit’s goal.

Bedia, who returned after missing the semifinal through suspension, stamped his authority in midfield. In the 51st minute, a surging run from midfield by Boumous led to Bedia striking the underside of the crossbar.

FC Goa players celebrate after Ferran Corominas (8) scores their first goal against Chennaiyin FC in the Super Cup 2019 final.   -  Twitter

 

For all the possession Goa had, it was a mistake from Anirudh Thapa which cost Chennaiyin dearly. The youngster made the error of misplacing a pass to Corominas, who has often been the scourge of Chennaiyin in the past. The Spaniard intercepted Thapa’s pass and slid the ball into Boumous on the right, who brought out a save from Karanjit with a shot. The ball bounced across the face of the goal and Corominas had the simple task of slotting it into an empty net.

Chennaiyin bounced back immediately by attacking Goa’s goal after the restart. Fernandes whipped in a cross from a quick free-kick which set Augusto at the edge of the box. The Brazilian’s volleyed strike changed trajectory when it clipped the heel of Seriton Fernandes before rifling into the bottom right corner.

The match-winner

But, it turned out to be a lucky break for Chennaiyin as its defence struggled to live with Goa’s attacking rhythm. Corominas sliced open Chennaiyin’s defence with a through ball to find Brandon, who had made a darting run in between Mailson and Sabia. The winger rolled the ball past Karanjit and into the net on the slide.

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The second goal prompted a double change from Chennaiyin boss John Gregory in the form of Thoi Singh and Germanpreet Singh. The substitutions didn’t have the desired effect as Goa continued to dictate play.

There may have been some lingering memories from the 2015 ISL final among the few hundred Goan supporters who made the trip, and an unmarked Sabia came narrowly close to revisiting it when he struck the crossbar deep into added time.

The Goan players ensured they carried the ball far away from goal as the referee called time on the game. Lobera’s men and supporters rejoiced as it tasted a fitting reward for the hard work they had put in the last two years. It was a trophy to savour for their unwavering attacking football.

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