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2020-21 Indian Super League, Regular Season
  • Jorge Ortíz Mendoza (9')
  • Rafael Crivellaro (5')
  • Rahim Ali (53')

ISL 2020-21: Rafael Crivellaro inspires Chennaiyin FC to win over FC Goa

Chennaiyin players celebrate with their captain, Rafael Crivellaro, after he scored direct from a corner against FC Goa. Deepak Malik / Sportzpics for ISL

The match ended Chennaiyin FC 2 - 1 FC Goa, and a cursory glance of the stats will lead you to believe it was a close match -- Chennaiyin had 20 shots to Goa's 19, six and eight on target respectively. But those stats don't tell the story of the five chances Chennaiyin missed from inside and just outside the Goa six-yard box. If they had had their shooting boots on, this could have been a tennis score.

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Which is not to say Goa did not contribute to what was an end-to-end, entertaining affair. They simply did not create chances half as good as their opponents'.

The first chance of the match came in the fourth minute, a pre-cursor to the high-octane stuff that was to follow. Rafael Crivellaro started the move with a lovely swivel and pass into the box, which Anirudh Thapa raced on to. His cutback into the box was on-point, Jakub Sylvester's finish from about four yards, not so much.

From that corner, though, Chennaiyin took the lead. And how.

Crivellaro, spotting Mohammad Nawaz being crowded on the goal line, aimed for the far top corner, and hit it. An Olimpico, a goal direct from the corner. It was special.

Goa, though, came roaring back, and within four minutes, they had equalised. Jorge Ortiz powered in from the left, drifted into the centre, played a quick one-two with Alexander Romario Jesuraj, and smashed it into the top corner.

This was followed by a period of Chennaiyin dominance that was punctuated by poor finishing, Lallianzuala Chhangte the prime offender. Chhangte missed two opportunities after the ball was worked into his feet inside the six-yard box, skying both efforts over the crossbar. Thapa and Reagan Singh both forced Nawaz into good diving saves, but the two teams went into the break level.

A similar pattern emerged in the second half, Crivellaro the culprit this time after lovely work from Chhangte had set him one-on-one with Nawaz at the edge of the six-yard box. He sent a thunderous left-footed drive well over.

For all their neat passing, Goa struggled to force saves off Vishal Kaith in the Chennaiyin goal, until Brandon Fernandes curled one that needed a full length dive to save. Chennaiyin, though, finally finished one in the 53rd minute.

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Crivellaro was at the heart of it, racing into the box, teasing a couple of Goa defenders, holding the ball up, before playing a superb pass across the face of Goa's goal, where Rahim Ali had the simplest of tap-ins.

Crivellaro was at the heart of it, racing into the box, teasing a couple of Goa defenders, holding the ball up, before playing a superb pass across the face of Goa's goal, where Rahim Ali had the simplest of tap-ins.

Toward the end, there were some melees in the Chennaiyin penalty box, but they held onto take all three points. They now move level on points with Goa, both on eight points, although Goa have played a game more.

Chennaiyin face struggling East Bengal next on the 26th, Goa face a resurgent Jamshedpur FC on the 23rd.