FC Goa, the Durand Cup 2021 champion, marched into the semifinals of this edition of the tournament, defeating Chennaiyin FC 4-1 in the third quarterfinal here at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Three of Goa’s foreign signings scored as Carl Mchugh scored one and assisted one, Noah Sadaoui scored his fifth of the tournament, Carlos Martinez his third, and Victor Rodriguez scored the final goal of the game.
Bikash Yumnam scored the lone goal for the Marina Machans.
Alexander “Sandy” Stewart was in charge of Chennaiyin FC and he made six changes to the side which played its final group game against Delhi FC, including Rahim Ali, Italian midfielder Christian Battocchio and Sarthak Goloui, who made his debut for CFC.
AS IT HAPPENED: FC Goa vs Chennaiyin FC Highlights
The Gaurs, with Gauramangi Singh at the helm, went one better with seven, bringing Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem and Brandon Fernandez back and introducing Carl Mchugh as a Goa player.
CFC got the early breakthrough when Aakash Sangwan’s corner was headed in powerfully by Bikash.
The Gaurs, on the other hand, had to wait till the half-hour mark to get on level terms. Udanta Singh and Brandon played a one-two on the right flank after which the former floated a cross to Sadaoui on the far post. The Moroccan headed the ball right in front of Mchugh’s feet, who scored on his debut.
Sadaoui almost put the Guars ahead a couple of minutes later, again getting behind an Udanta cross on the far post, but this time, with only Samik Mitra to beat, he misdirected his header.
The comeback was complete with a strike from another new signing, Spaniard Carlos Martinez Rodriguez. The experienced strike took a touch with his back to goal, then turned Sangwan in and with a sight at goal and the keeper in front, executed an audacious chip over the keeper.
Chennaiyin did begin the second half with more firepower, with captain Jordan Murray Connor Shields constantly testing the opposition’s defence. Dheeraj denied a clear chance on goal by Murray while Sangwan’s free-kick was also punched away by the Goa keeper, keeping the slender lead intact.
The final nail in the coffin of CFC arrived in the last moments of the game when a jaded Chennaiyin defence was picked apart by the Gaurs. Mchugh turned provider in the first minute of second-half injury time, finding Sadaoui inside the box, who brought it down beautifully to nail it past Samik with a shot on the turn.
The CFC custodian was then beaten for a fourth time when Boris Singh laid it on Victor Rodriguez’s path a couple of minutes later. The substitute took a brilliant first touch to leave his marker, Jiteshwor Singh, behind and blasted a left-footer into the left top corner of the Chennaiyin net.
FC Goa will play Mohun Bagan Super Giant or Mumbai City FC next, in the semifinal, with the latter two in action on Sunday.
FC Goa 4 ( Carl Mchugh 30’ Carlos Martinez 37’ Noah Sadoui 90+1’ Victor 90+3’) bt Chennaiyin FC (CFC)– 1 (Bikash Yumnam 5’)