FC Goa returned to winning ways against Chennaiyin FC after a frustrating draw last week as the defending champions slumped to their second defeat of the season. While Goa were better of the two sides, both teams had players who excelled and also those who could have done much better on the day.
The former Barcelona B and Real Zaragoza star had missed FC Goa’s 2-2 draw against NorthEast United in the season opener. And the void in the attacking midfield was so vast that Sergio Lobera decided to push his winger Mandar Rao Desai to a fullback position to accommodate the Spaniard. The outcome was telling as Bedia was evidently intelligent enough to fill in the spaces in Goa’s defensive third on the counter and during the counterattack, he also managed to lose his marker time and again. His finish for the first goal, which gave Goa the early lead, also reflected the sharp technique he possesses with the ball at his feet. He had 14% of the team’s touches in his floating offensive role and contributed defensively as well and when required with two tackles and one crucial block.
Brought from last season’s runner-up Bengaluru FC, Lenny Rodrigues is slowly starting to be an important piece of Goa’s puzzle this season, and it was properly exposed during the match against Chennai. Goa’s pressing often sees their opponents clearing the ball back at a short distance, where Lobera had asked Lenny to operate. He would collect the ball time and again 10 yards outside the box and engineer another counter with the full front line waiting in the final third. With an 87% passing accuracy, Lenny made eight tackles, winning almost all of them, intercepted twice and blocked a shot too. His composure on the ball also makes it easier for him to play the quick one-two and find players on the box regularly. His intelligent positioning also finds him free on the flanks regularly and yesterday, he put it two crosses, one of which led to the assist for the first goal.
Despite what the top scorer list says, Chennaiyin’s source of the goal is not Jeje Lalpekhlua but their two attacking midfielders who sit behind him. And while Jeje was still managing the finishes last season, they have dried up this time leaving the responsibility largely with Raphael Augusto and Gregory Nelson. However, the match against Goa saw Nelson also having an off day leaving Augusto with everything to do. And he was up to the task for most of the game. Despite Chennai leaving most of the offensive and defensive responsibilities to him, the Brazilian looked like the only player to create difficulties for Goa. Managing as many as nine tackles, Augusto also took three shots at the target, which didn’t amount to much though. Despite being zonal marked heavily, he had a passing accuracy of 70%, which is impressive given the number of times he was brought down.
Though Anirudh Thapa’s nascent age and inexperience give John Gregory enough reasons to doubt his starting role in the side, the 20-year-old has now been reducing his doubters with every game he plays. John decided to bench Isaac Vanmalsawma in favour of Thapa yesterday, and the Indian came off pretty good, if not exceptionally well. Playing in the midfield in a predominantly defensive setup, Thapa was asked to defend more than go up and the attacking minded player did deny his role a few times. However, he was the only one showing intent and combined with Augusto numerous times in the attacking midfield, although the final pass missing. Defensively, he had a more complete display though, with two tackles, two interceptions, and one block. Though the scoreline won’t truly reflect his contribution in the game, we believe he would gain prominence more and more when things start falling into place for Chennai in the coming months.
Yes, you read it right, Calderon was the villain for the hosts yesterday with his rash tackles, which were wasteful and at times, foolish. Like Lucian Goian of Mumbai City, Calderon also enjoys a monopoly on the field where he is allowed to leave his position and move up in search for chances. And the primary reason he is allowed such privileges is
If there is one thing apart from a prodigious talent that Jackichand Singh has been synonymous with, it is inconsistency. The northeastern star has been doing the rounds of clubs of ISL solely with his old reputation with every management hoping for the best with him in the mix. But, one cannot deny that fact that if there is one manager who could unlock his attacking potential to the fullest, it was Lobera. And the way Jackie actually kicked off against NorthEast with all his vigour and intent on the right flank, had got fans excited. But, his tendency to disappear in games floated up yet again yesterday where he was almost non-existent and his stay on the field for 83 minutes was questioned. And it was rightly so because all Jackie had done was one tackle and one clearance throughout the 90 minutes and unless he was not dragging out few Chennaiyin defenders out of position with him, then he was basically doing nothing.
Another game, another flop show by the favourite son of the Supermachans as Jeje walked off the match with absolutely zero shots on target. Imagine a striker not doing the only thing expected of him. While a large share of the blame would go to John Gregory for putting him in a deeper forward role, a veteran like him should be expected to adapt to different positions. With Nelson and Augusto taking the load of attack usually, Jeje’s free role could have seen him reach the full potential but while his sense of positioning has been terrible, the few times he has managed to reach them he has wasted the chances. Yesterday, Jeje could get only 16 touches in the whole game with one block and one tackle. While Chennai’s lack of pressing was also a reason to it, Jeje hardly hampered the performances of Ahmed Jahouh or Lenny Rodrigues, who kept on going up and creating raucous.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi