Indian Super League

ISL semi-final, 1st leg: Thapa equaliser gives Chennaiyin FC away-goal advantage against Goa

With the 1-1 draw, Chennaiyin FC now need just a goalless draw in the second leg to advance to the summit clash.

Chennaiyin FC rallied to hold FC Goa to a 1-1 draw in the second semi-final of the Indian Super League in Goa on Saturday. The visitors head home with an away goal advantage.

After a barren first half, FC Goa, who had the lion’s share of possession, took the lead in the 64th minute through Manuel Lanzarote.

But Chennaiyin FC, who defended well and came up with dangerous counter moves, restored parity in the 71st minute through substitute Anirudh Thapa.

With the 1-1 draw, Chennaiyin FC now need just a goalless draw against FC Goa on March 13 to advance to the summit clash.

Backed by a vociferous home crowd, FC Goa went into attacking mode from the start. Mandar Rao Desai, who was threatening from the left flank, came up with a 25-yard shot which rival keeper Karanjit Singh did well to keep out of danger.

Chennaiyin FC came up with dangerous counter-attacks. A Jeje strike and Gregory Nelson’s low shot narrowly missed the target.

Soon after the start of the second half, the visitors had two close chances to take the lead. But keeper and captain Kattimani saved, without much ado, Jeje’s strike in the 46th minute and Nelson Alves’ shot a few seconds later.

After the close saves, the home team made inroads into the rival box and drew first blood in the 64th minute.

From the left, Mandar Rao Dessai sent a cross inside the box for Ferran Corominas, who took a crack at the goal. The shot, after deflecting off the goalie, landed on Manuel Lanzarote’s feet and the strike tapped it in to give the home team the lead.

But FC Goa’s joy lasted only for six minutes as the visitors found an equaliser through substitute Anirudh Thapa.

Gregory Nelson got past a rival defender inside the box and laid a through pass to substitute Anirudh Thapa, despatched the ball into the net.

Both the teams made couple of changes in the final stages in a desperation to break the stalemate.

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