The champions will renew the rivalry with FC Goa today at the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium, Chennai in the 8th match of Indian Super League.
The Gaurs will have scores to settle with the Chennaiyin FC men after being knocked out at the play offs last season. The enthralling battle is expected to be continued in Chennai today.
The Chennai side went to take up the coveted trophy by beating the Gaurs for 4-1 on aggregate. FC Goa had earned the third place with the highest number of goals in the season.
As the Spaniard, Sergio Lobera continues to coach the Gaurs from the last season, his main concern will still be the defence. A 2-2 draw against NorthEast United in Guwahati showcased the team’s strengths and weaknesses. While the defence shipped two goals, last season’s Golden Boot winner Ferran Corominas notched a brace. As a coach, there are some aspects we must work on, defence wise. But we play attacking football and we look forward to playing that,” said Lobera.
Lobera will be mindful of the fact that his team will be taking on a defensively strong outfit in Chennaiyin.“Chennaiyin FC still have three foreigners at the back which is similar to last season. The names might have changed but, I think, Chennaiyin is a strong squad and defensively they will be very solid.”
Coach John Gregory professed his happiness about how the team showed up against the defending champions in the opener.
The Englishman made a debut in the ISL last season taking over charge for the winning side. He implored his charges to improve their efficiency in front of goal from the last match in Bengaluru. “We took huge positives from that (Bengaluru) game. We dominated the ball. But we need to use it a bit better in the final third. You have to take chances and opportunities that come our way. We need to continue what we are doing and do it better,” he said.
Englishman will be hoping that the puzzle of balanced style play continues to be difficult to solve for the Spaniard. Chennaiyin were beaten only once by FC Goa in four games last season. “ Goa, if they get half a chance, they are always likely to score. We have to very aware of Coro who scored twice the other day. We have to ensure we are switched on defensively,” he reasoned.
Chennaiyin FC are expected to soak up the pressure and hit the vulnerable Goan defence on the counter. FC Goa will be hoping to convert their possession-based dominance into early goals. This should make for a fascinating battle.