Football

ISL | Goian carries Chennaiyin into top four

Ecstatic: Chennaiyin FC players celebrate after booking a slot in the playoffs.

Ecstatic: Chennaiyin FC players celebrate after booking a slot in the playoffs.  

A red card given and one not given prove crucial; heartbreak for Mumbai City FC

Lucian Goian’s late strike — an airborne right-footed volley — turned out to be Chennaiyin FC’s match-winner in an enthralling, hard-fought encounter against his former team Mumbai City FC in the ISL season six here on Friday night. The Romanian, a defender with the instincts of a goal-poacher, arrived at the post in time for a corner-kick, squeezed the ball past rival captain Amrinder Singh from a narrow angle and silenced the crowd at the Mumbai Football Arena.

The result pushes CFC into the semifinal playoffs. It is currently placed fourth in the table — 28 points from 17 games and has a match in hand — against NEUFC — to move higher up. Two points behind is Mumbai City in fifth.

Professional foul

Forced to play with a player short from the 54th minute onward, following a red card to defender Sourav Das for a professional foul on Lallianzuala Chhangte, the host gained strength from adversity to attack the rival goal, missed a chance to take the lead, before Goian’s knockout punch in the 83rd minute.

Two card decisions in the space of two minutes in the second half injected life into the game. Vishal Kaith was lucky to escape with a yellow card in the 52nd minute for a side-footed challenge on Amine Chermiti.

The goalkeeper rushed out, realised that the Tunisian was faster and after missing the ball, tripped the forward.

The home team hoped for a red, but the referee decided the foul deserved only a yellow.

Chermiti held his head in shock at the decision, appeals for a red card were brushed aside and players lined up for a free-kick just beyond the box on the right.

The low shot rolled back off the wall, and Chennaiyin launched a counter-attack via Chhangte. The little forward streaked across the turf, crossed the centreline, chased by Das whose challenge from behind after seeing goalkeeper Amrinder rushing back led to his sending off.

Thoi Singh and Geermanpreet Singh came off the bench, as Own Coyle decided to turn on the pace, needing a win and handicapped with 10 men on the pitch.

MCFC attacked with all its might and Diego Carlos created the best chance of the night for Chermiti, who brought down a long ball from the left with a superb first touch, then toed with his left to wrong-foot Kaith, only to see the ball roll just wide off the left post.

The result: Chennaiyin FC 1 (Lucian Goian 83) bt Mumbai City FC 0.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 7:18:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/football/isl-goian-carries-chennaiyin-into-top-four/article30884931.ece

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