Bambolim (Goa), January 7, 2022: Having kickstarted the new year with a win, Chennaiyin FC will be keen to carry forward their form and secure three points when they clash FC Goa in their tenth 2021-22 Hero Indian Super League encounter at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim on Saturday.
Chennaiyin FC’s head coach Bozidar Bandovic said a win against Jamshedpur FC in their last game has instilled confidence in his side, coming after back-to-back losses.
“The players showed good character and ability to change things even after two defeats and that’s important for me. Even some of the stronger teams don’t make a comeback after conceding losses. I want my team to be stable,” Bandovic said during the team’s pre-match press conference on Friday.
For the Marina Machans, Defender Sajid Dhot emerged as the standout performer against Jamshedpur and he was also adjudged Hero of the Match for his impressive show on his CFC debut. “He [Sajid] was training with the team for a long time and was impressive during that period. He did well [against JFC] and helped the team [win]. But now he needs to try and repeat the same performance in the upcoming matches,” he added.
Defender Jerry Lalrinzuala, who was also present at the press conference, credited the team’s success to the head coach. Jerry further said that there’s been good communication going on in the defence which is helping the team to perform better.
Bandovic further confirmed the availability of Nerijus Valskis for Saturday’s match.
Addition of the Lithuanian striker will strengthen CFC’s goal scoring ability as well as overall attack. Talking about the challenges against Goa, the 52-year-old coach said: “They [FCG] have very good players in their midfield. They are very dangerous when they have a ball. We need to be very tight defensively and put pressure on them.”
When Chennaiyin played FC Goa last time in Bambolim in 2020-21 ISL, they registered a 2-1 win. Both the teams share a healthy rivalry when it comes to head-to-head. From the 19 matches played so far between them, Chennaiyin have won eight while Goa have emerged victorious on nine occasions.
Currently positioned sixth, with 14 points, CFC have secured four wins and two draws from their nine games so far. With the season entering its second half, a win against FC Goa will take them into the top four on the points table.
Bandovic, however, feels the race for a play-offs spot will go on till the last game of the season with the presence of strong teams and believes in focusing on one game at a time. “We are satisfied with the way we have played so far despite having a new team. There are still many games left. I’m just focusing on the next game and it’s important for me to win tomorrow and get three points.”
Chennaiyin vs FC Goa: Head-to-Head
Matches: 19, CFC: 8, FCG 9, Draw: 2
Goals: CFC: 37, FCG: 36