Chennaiyin FC completed a remarkable turnaround and qualified for the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 playoffs with a 1-0 win over Mumbai City FC at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
Chennaiyin, a team which was languishing at the bottom when coach Owen Coyle took over, overcame all odds to enter the last-four stage of ISL for the fourth time in th tournament’s history.
Find below the key talking points from match 87 of the ISL 2019-20 season:
– LUCIAN GOIAN RETURNS TO HAUNT MUMBAI –
Former Mumbai City defender and current Chennaiyin skipper Lucian Goian kept a clean sheet on the night. But above all, he scored the all-important winner which took his side into playoffs and eliminated his former employer from the ongoing edition of ISL.
Throughout the game, both teams squandered one too many set-piece opportunities, especially corners. Finally in the 83rd minute of the match, during a Rafael Crivellaro corner, Nerijus Valskis rose the highest and flicked the ball with his head towards his captain.
Goian caught the ball on the half-volley and slammed it past Mumbai custodian Amrinder Singh. After scoring the goal, Goian’s celebrations were muted, perhaps as a mark of respect for his former team. The damage had been done, irrespective.
– ONE RED CARD, SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN TWO? –
Mumbai midfielder Sourav Das took one for the team when was sent off in the 54th minute for a disastrous tackle on Chennai’s Lallianzuala Chhangte, who was one-on-one with Amrinder. However, the error leading up to this moment was committed by Sourav’s teammate Mohammed Rafique who was easily dispossessed in midfield.
A few moments earlier, Mumbai forward Amine Chermiti had a one-on-one opportunity against Chennaiyin keeper Vishal Kaith. Kaith rushed forward and put in a terrible double-footed challenge on Chermiti just outside the box. But the referee only handed the shot-stopper a yellow card. One wonders if that could have potentially earned red instead.
Though the home side was reduced to 10 men, it dominated the visitor up until Goian’s goal.
– CHENNAIYIN CAN FINISH ABOVE BENGALURU NOW –
Qualification to the playoffs was Coyle’s primary goal. His side can now move above Bengaluru FC to third if certain results go its way. First of all, it has to beat a misfiring NorthEast United FC in its last league outing on Tuesday, which is highly likely.
Bengaluru which plays ATK next on Saturday is expected to rest several key players during that encounter. This is because it has must-win AFC Cup playoff second-leg tie against Maziya S&RC coming up on Wednesday.
So if ATK beats Bengaluru and Chennaiyin defeats NorthEast, Coyle’s men will finish above the defending champion in third place in the 2019-20 ISL points table.