Preview: Goa to Ensure Qualification against Chennaiyin?

I have to say, I’ve been looking forward to this one since FC Goa started performing better. The only problem is that I didn’t foresee that Chennaiyin FC would’ve already qualified. That puts a splash of cold water over what was going to be a very exciting game.

How Things Stand For Chennaiyin and FC Goa & Teams Stereotypes in the League

Chennaiyin FC vs. FC Goa

Chennaiyin FC vs. FC Goa

Let me explain. FC Goa vs. Chennaiyin FC is 1st vs. 2nd in the Indian Super League. Chennaiyin have already qualified for the semis while Goa are on the cusp of doing the same.

It’s quite simple for Goa. If they win this game, they’re in. If they draw or lose it then they’ll have to wait for their final game to confirm their qualification.

You might think that Chennaiyin players don’t really have anything to play for and you would be right because of the nascent nature of the ISL. For Chennaiyin, the only thing on the line now is which position they qualify in. This depends entirely on which of the other qualifiers they would prefer to play.

Because ISL is so young, it is unpredictable. The teams haven’t really developed long standing reputations yet. We don’t know which teams are consistent bottom scratchers, mid table mediocres, or top of the table champions.

Virtually anybody can beat anybody on a particular day right now. These kinds of tags usually happen after a few seasons when a team shows consistently what it is in the league.

This means that Chennaiyin would have a hard time even figuring out where all the teams will finally end up in the top 4 spots or even which ones they should look to play. If I was Materazzi, I wouldn’t want to play FC Goa or Atletico De Kolkata in the semis. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind going up against the rest of the league.

The problem is that the choice is kind of redundant too. They are 1st and have a clearance of 6 points to 4th. Similarly, they have a clearance of 4 points to 2nd and 3rd spots. They’re already in the best place possible.

Chennaiyin Rotation Nigh, Goa Spirits High

As I’ve already said, Chennaiyin have already qualified. This is probably why they’ve decided to take it easy and use the next two games as preparation for the coming semis and finals. They will, apparently, be experimenting with fringe players and even their tactics.

They’re not even being sly about it. They’re saying it all right out for everyone to hear. They revealed everything in their pre-game press conference which was led by their Assistant Coach Vivek Nagul.

We will use this match to rotate the squad and give fringe players a chance to perform. We will use the next two games as preparation for the semi-finals and we want to work on tactical nuances and will rest players who may have niggling injuries.

Simple, straight forward, no fuss, no rush, just a happy school bus. There’s also some information about Alessandro Nesta who, it seems, has arrived to join his new teammates.

Goa’s Head Coach, Zico, kept things under wrap and didn’t reveal his strategy for the game. So, we don’t know whether Robert Pires will play or not. Zico did seem confident and said as much when asked about how he sees the upcoming tactical battle.

I am not giving my line-up but we have 23 players fit and available to play tomorrow… The team has changed a lot. It (the defeat) was the first game, I didn’t know many players, now I know; the same applicable to Chennaiyin FC, so we’ll see how it pans out but I am confident of winning the game.

Expect Goa to Dominate the Game

Bruno Pelissari, the Danger Man

Bruno Pelissari, the Danger Man

The fact that there isn’t a lot for Chennaiyin to play for and that they’re going to rotate players, we can expect that Goa will be the stronger of the two in the game.

There will be more motivation for Goa and they will be playing as many of their first team players as possible. Goa hasn’t had any trouble scoring goals lately which has resulted in a healthy column of goals scored and GD.

In fact, they are second in the league in terms of goals scored. More importantly, their GD is the best in the league too. They’ve scored a whopping 12 goals in their last 5 games. That’s more than 2 goals per game average.

So, they don’t really have to worry about scoring goals. The key for Goa will be to keep Bruno Pelissari in control who can come up with a moment of magic at any time in the game. They will also be up against a very vocal Chennaiyin home support.