ISL: FC Goa eyes second spot against Chennaiyin FC

Chennaiyin FC will be looking to avoid an unwanted record attached to its name.

FC Goa will be looking to get back into winning rhythm ahead of the playoffs.   -  ISL Media

Already assured of a playoff berth, FC Goa will look to finish second on the Indian Super League table when it takes on Chennaiyin FC in their last league stage fixture at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda here, on Thursday.

Sergio Lobera and his team needs to find its rhythm before the play-offs, having suffered a 3-0 defeat against Bengaluru FC in the previous match.

Much has been made of Goa’s free-scoring attack, which has scored the most goals in the ISL this time around. The likes of Ferran Corominas and Edu Bedia have been instrumental for the side upfront. But majority of the credit for Goa’s qualification for the playoffs lies with the defence which has improved immensely from last season. The Gaurs had kept five clean sheets in a row before the loss to Bengaluru FC.

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“At the beginning of the season, one of my goals was to improve the team defensively. Now we are one of those teams who have kept the maximum number of clean sheets this season. We have the best goal difference. So, I think I achieved my goal. We have sealed the playoff spot with two games to go,” said Lobera.

Senegalese defender Mourtada Fall has been a vital presence while Moroccan midfielder Ahmed Jahouh also deserves praise. Jahouh has provided the Goan defence with a solid shield and initiates Goa’s attack with his intelligent passing. Chennaiyin FC will have to keep tabs on Jahouh and restrict his influence on the game if it is to get anything from its final match in the league.

Ahead of an AFC Cup playoff tie, Chennaiyin is badly in need of a win. Last year's champion is yet to reach double figures in terms of points and with just nine points in its kitty, John Gregory’s side is set to finish at the bottom. It needs at least a win to ensure it doesn't set an unwanted record of notching up the least points ever in the history of ISL (Northeast United recorded 11 points last season).

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“I’ll be pleased to win against FC Goa. We’ve had a lot of opportunities to win this season, but we are where we are owing to a number of factors. We haven’t performed anywhere close to what we are capable of,” said Gregory.