ISL 2520383 – Semi-final 1st Leg, Chenniayin FC vs FC Goa (Photo Credit: ISL / News 21
Owen Coyle’s arrival in December turned Chennaiyin’s campaign on its head. With just a single win in their first six matches and even failed to score in four. Since Coyle’s arrival, they are unbeaten in their last eight ISL matches. At the pre-match press conference, Owen Coyle said, “When I came in on December 6th, we were given a 1 or 2% chance to get in the semi-finals. We have managed that but we don’t want to stop . We want to see that through. To do that, we would have to play at our very best because we are playing against a quality side. “
“But if we are at our best, we have shown that we can beat anyone. So, we are looking forward to the game and looking forward to standing toe-to-toe with the team that finished at number one. They finished there for a reason. Consistently over 21 games, they were the best team. I would like to think that in the last 12 matches, we certainly matched them and got closer. And that’s what we are looking forward to, “added Coyle.
FC Goa secured the AFC Champions League spot, having finished top of the league phase. Even with their long-standing head coach, Sergio Lobera’s sudden departure, the Gaurs continued their stunning form on the pitch, scoring goals and winning all three matches since. In fact, the Gaurs come into the match on the back of a five-match win streak.
FC Goa’s interim coach Clifford Miranda though wary of the challenge against Chennaiyin. “Chennaiyin are the most difficult team to play against. They are one team we wanted to avoid. They are the most improved team. We knew ATK and Bengaluru would be among the top teams but Chennaiyin were at the bottom of the league and in games under new head coach Owen Coyle , they have accumulated 50 points that puts them right up among the top four. They are unbeaten in the last eight games, scoring 24 goals and that makes them very dangerous. We will play our natural game, but we need to be cautious, “he said at the pre-match press conference.
“We work hard as a team defensively. I think we are very solid defensively. If you say that we have conceded 23 goals, then we have also scored 46 goals. We might have conceded the goals because we play a very open game and when we play like that, there are some moments where other things happen. But we have to take the risks. This team has been together since last season and they always know how to play. We are all professional players and are very dedicated, “Miranda said when asked about the defense.