Chennaiyin FC clinch ISL title – Mendoza, Bruno shine as soccer-mad Goa beaten

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Chennaiyin FC players pose with the trophy alongwith Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Nita Ambani as they celebrate after winning the final match against FC Goa during the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Dec 20. (AFP)
Chennaiyin FC players pose with the trophy alongwith Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan and Nita Ambani as they celebrate after winning the final match against FC Goa during the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium in Goa on Dec 20. (AFP)

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 20: Soccer-mad Goa were beaten 3-2 by the Chennaiyin FC to lift the second edition of the Indian Soccer League (ISL) which was played at the Fatorda Stadium in Goa.

In the first half both teams played cautious soccer although the first ten minutes of the game were marred with fouls and a clash of heads between Dudu and Mailson sent Dudu of Goa off in an ambulance.

Both teams had a couple of decent chances with Mendoza and Bruno for Chennai and Lucio, Leo Moura (freekick) for Goa — but both failed to capitalize. At half-time the score read 0-0.

After the interval play was confined to midfield for the first 10 minutes. The first goal came in the 52 minute of the second half after Mendoza was brought down in the penalty area, Kattimani made a stunning save only for the Brazilian Pelissari to pounce on the rebound to put Chennayin ahead.

Never say die and the Goans hit back immediately two minutes later when Haokip who replaced Leo Moura scored from gem of a through ball from Romeo Fernandes to put his team level.

In the midst of a drama, Mendoza was brought down again by Kattimani inside the box, but the latter made another brilliant save and made sure the ball went out of play.

In the 87th minute Jofre put hosts Goa in front for a 2-1 score in what appeared to be the winning goal that was not to be.

An own goal by Kattimani and a 90th minute strike from Stiven Mendoza gave Chennaiyin FC a 3-2 win for their first ISL crown.

Managed by Brazilian legend Zico, FC Goa had bowed out of the tournament in the semi-finals in the inaugural tournament beaten on penalties 2-4 by Kolkatta which ultimately went on to lift the coveted trophy by beating Kerala Blasters in the final 1-0.

In this year’s first semifinal Chennaiyin went down 1-2 to defending champions Atletico de Kolkata but in the second leg they progressed for today’s show-down 4-2 on aggregate.

Goa went into the final as favorites by virtue of the fact they finished top of the standings before the knockout stage and also had the home advantage of playing at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, Goa.

Both teams played a fine brand of football that kept the audience on the edge of their seats for the entire course of the game.

On the other hand, the Goans faced a team which had two of the finest individual players in the ISL – Edel Apoula and Stiven Mendoza. Edel Apoula is arguably the best goalkeeper of the competition and is the holder of the Golden Glove armband. His teammate, striker Stiven Mendoza is the leading goal scorer with 13 goals to his name.

 By Paul Francis X. Fernandes

Arab Times Staff

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