Southern giants clashes for the title, Chennaiyin faces Bengaluru.
Chennaiyin FC has thumped FC Goa 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) in the decider second leg of Semifinal-2 of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Tuesday. Sniper Jeje Lalpekhlua(26’, 90’) bagged a bracer for the Southern heroes and Dhanpal Ganesh’s(29’) header added fuel to fire of the Gaurs.
It was FC Goa who started with all guns blazing and almost opened the scoring sheet when in the 5th minute, Mandar Rao Desai cut the ball from the line but Jerry Lalrinzuala kicked the ball away intuiting danger. Jerry’s kick almost came close to an own goal.
Chennaiyin kept holding the Gaurs in their half. But at the 11th minute, Ahmed Jahouh fed the ball to Hugo Boumous before the latter squaring the ball to Mandar Rao Desai. Mandar Rao Desai’s shot went straight to Chennaiyin’s stopper Karanjit Singh before Henrique Sereno cleared the ball.
Dhanpal Ganesh was shown the yellow card for a bad foul on Ferran Corominas just outside the box in the 13th minute. Spaniard Manuel Lanzarote stepped up to take the set-piece but Karanjit denied the brilliant chance with his fist.
Opposite to the flow of the game, Jeje almost scored with a header in the 20th minute when Gregory Nelson flicked the ball from the right flank to Jeje. Jeje’s header just went above the crossbar to deny any collateral damage.
Six minutes later, Jeje again came into the action as he drew the first blood for the Marina Machans. Gregory Nelson ran down the flank before crossing it to the Jeje, Jeje who was unmarked by the FC Goa’s defence exploited the chance to the fullest as his header went past Naveen Kumar. Chennaiyin went up in the tie 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate).
It seemed like any black magic has been spelt onto FC Goa as they conceded their second goal at the half-hour mark. Jeje Lalpekhlua had a free kick down in the wing. Jeje squared the ball to Gregory Nelson, Gregory Nelson this time found Dhanpal Ganesh at the far post. Ganesh’s header bulged into the net at the 29th minute to further the Chennaiyin’s lead and hold their tight grip on the game. Chennaiyin doubled their lead to make it 2-0 (3-1 on aggregate).
Minutes before the end of first half, FC Goa got back to their style of game-play. Hugo Boumous cushioned the ball with his chest to drive into the box before latching the ball to Mandar Rao Desai. Mandar Rao Desai went for the glory as he fired the shot but was saved by Karanjit to keep the scoreline in home teams favour 2-0.
At the end of first half, Chennaiyin enjoys their impeccable lead of 3-1 on the visitors FC Goa.
After the resumption of the second half, Raphael Augusto chested down the ball before launching a thunderbolt strike but it went past the post. Raphael Augusto’s shot was the only standout moment for the Gaurs.
At the 51st minute, Ahmed Jahouh played a long ball to Corominas who was just behind the defence. But before the “Golden Boot” boy can cause any damage Mailson deflected the latter one’s shot for a corner-kick.
At the 74th minute, Ahmed Jahouh unleashed a vicious shot towards the goalpost. But Karanjit palmed the ball over the bars to frustrate the Gaurs as they kept testing the Chennaiyin’s custodian.
Gaurs tried to penetrate through the Chennaiyin’s defence but couldn’t succeed. Ahmed Jahouh kept on bombarding long ranger but none of them was capable to find its way to the net as Karanjit stood tall and firm to deny every chance.
The 27-year-old Indian international Jeje Lalpekhlua hit the last nail into the coffin at the 90th minute when Jaime Gavilan intended to pass Jeje but the ball got deflected by Goa’s defender Mohammed Ali and eventually, the ball fell for Jeje again. Jeje showed his calm and composed nature as he fired the ball past Naveen Kumar to earn the finals ticket for his team.
Chennaiyin FC will be travelling to Bengaluru for the finals as they face home team Bengaluru FC at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on March 17. Chennaiyin FC has made it to the finals for the second time after they previously won the title in 2015.