Chennaiyin goes home with Advantage despite Stalemate in the Semifinal 1st Leg: The Talking Points

Rohit Ganguly  |  Indian Super League  |  1 Year Ago

The first-leg of the semi-final between Goa and Chennai fizzled out into a stalemate after a lackluster affair on the pitch. 


Lanzarote tapped the ball home from a sloppy clearance of Karandeep to give the lead to the hosts. However, just seven minutes down the line, Anirudh Thapa, the super-sub for Chennai, slotted the ball home past a flat-footed Kattimani with a sweet strike from the box, thereby restoring parity.


Let's take a look at the pointers now which impinged today’s game.

Both the teams never had the zeal to see things off in the final third

Despite all the moves down the wings and even down the center, both the teams lacked the firepower to polish off things.


Right since the outset of the game, Goa seemed vicious as they started playing long balls intended for their strikers up-front. However, much to their disappointment, despite proper receives and even better runs with sweet and incisive centers, all they managed to do in the finishing zone was to squander away those deliveries either down the throat of Karandeep Singh or simply lay off watery passes for the players in orange to gift possession to their counterparts.


Chennai emulated them in lockstep as, despite repeated infringements into the D-Box of Goa, all they managed to do was either put in haywire deliveries or simply bump into a melee of Goan boots.

Everything the game had was a war in the midfield

The best part of the game was the battle of the midfield. The end did not witness any clear winner, however, Goa held sway in the first-half and Chennai took over the reins in the second.


Pronoy Halder was extremely instrumental in today’s match for Goa as his towering presence in the midfield kept Chennai at bay for the entire first-half. Despite being a late starter for most of the season, he stamped his authority with a gilt-edged performance with timely tackles, and even a few darting runs down the wings to square off things for the Goan striking force.



Similarly, Bikramjit, Dhanpal Ganesh and lately introduced, Anirudh Thapa, made life hard for their Goan counterparts as they ran all around the park, thereby stretching the midfield to the ledges and it challenged Goa’s slow style of play, making them run a lot more and not allowing any space to Edu Bedia to settle.

Karanjit will try his best to forget tonight’s howler

Goalkeepers are an integral part of any game as they are the last guard of the fortress. Karandeep until then exhibited tremendous character and calm to keep Goa at bay. However, then in an attempt to thwart a center of Corominas, Karandeep laid the ball clear in front of a famished Lanzarote, who tucked the ball in with consummate ease.



The move emanated from Mandar Rao Desai as he released a peach of a ball for Corominas who tried to slot the ball home, however, his essay for glory was stymied as Karandeep palmed the ball away weakly and it was time for the hosts to surge ahead as Lanzarote tapped the ball home, thereby sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

Anirudh Thapa – The next big thing in Indian football?

As the commentators were just raving about the fact that at the end of the day it is the number of goals that speak, Chennai simply overturned an attack from Goa within the blink of an eye and at the end of the attack, they left Goa in dilapidation. 


Just while Goa was trying to pile more misery on the visitors, a center from Edu Bedia was chested down by Jerry and the latter released a peach of a ball for Bikramjit Singh, who with a deft touch of his feet, laid it bare for Gregory Nelson who dribbled past a couple of Goa defenders and released another delectable pass for Anirudh Thapa. Thapa finished the move with a sweet strike which evaded an outstretched foot of a Goan defender and despite Kattimani, being in position had very less time to react.


Anirudh Thapa exhibited sheer class in case of the goal and his position in the game was blue-ribbon. He was a stellar consort to the likes of Mailson, Bikramjit Singh, and Inigo Calderon. 


Given proper tutelage, this guy will go miles in the offing to come.

Unnecessary tackle, in the end, saw tempers flared

Henrique Sereno, the skipper of Chennai, was booked for an unnecessary tackle which was terrible of its ilk on Sifenos. While Sifenos dribbled past with the ball, Sereno caught him with scissor-feet from the behind and brought him down. 


A guy of Sifenos’s stature got up and confronted Sereno head-on. Pronoy Halder came in like a battering ram and so did Mailson to balance the numerical superiority. However, with much intervention from the referee, things did calm down. Mailson and Sereno were booked for their unprofessional behavior. 


The ensuing free-kick was curled in by Edu Bedia, however, it was of no impact as the stickler called off the affairs with a long blow at his whistle.


Chennai managed to walk away with the advantage of an away goal as Thapa’s screamer did the job for them in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. 

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