ISL: FC Goa, Chennaiyin FC play 1-1 draw in first leg

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Fatorda, March 10 (IANS) FC Goa and Chennaiyin FC played a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the second semi-final of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament at the Fatorda Stadium here on Saturday.

Goa drew the first blood when Manuel Lanzarote found the back of the net in the 64th minute but youngster Anirudh Thapa equalised in the 71st minute to deny the result.

Goa will now travel to Chennai for the second leg match which will take place on Tuesday.

Coming to the match, both teams started on a positive note by testing each other’s backline. Many chances were created in the initial minutes of the game but due to the lack of coordination both teams could not score the goal.

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In the 12th minute, Goa came close to score as they created two chances. Spanish attacking midfielder Manuel Lanzarote entered the box and lobbed the ball in front of the goalpost for his compatriot Ferran Corominas Telechea but Brazilian defender Mailson Alves cleared it before the home striker could to something.

The visitors goalkeeper Karanjit Singh tested few more times by midfielder Dhanpal Ganesh but he custodian stood firmly.

Chennai also made few counter-attacks but goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani, who came in for regular keeper Naveen Kumar, denied them as both teams went to the half-time goalless.

Early in the second half, Chennaiyin forward Jeje Lalpekhlua missed a golden chance when he could not decide whether to slam the ball or pass it from the handshaking distance from the goalkeeper.

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Soon, after that, Goa also counter-attacked and found many goal-scoring opportunities but the visiting backline did a superb job to save them.

The moment came in the 64th minute where Goa broke the deadlock and stood up to their reputation of an attacking team. Lanzarote slammed his 13th goal when Mandar, from the left, passed the ball to Corominas and the striker’s attempt was saved by Karanjit. But Lanzarote slotted the ball home from the rebound.

With seven minutes, Chennaiyin equalised, thanks to midfielder Thapa. Gregory Nelson gave the perfect ball to the youngster in-front of the goalpost and Thapa headed home without any mistake.

Both teams tried hard to create chances after that but the backlines of the teams stood firm and thus scoreline remained 1-1, with Chennaiyin earning a valuable away goal.

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(Gaurav Sharma can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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