ISL: Chennaiyin, Goa desperate for victory to keep playoff hopes alive

VASCO: Desperate to keep their flailing top-four hopes alive, Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa will clash in a virtual do-or-die Indian Super League match on Wednesday.
Chennaiyin dropped to eighth place after their loss to Mumbai City FC the other day, having 19 points from 15 matches.
Goa, seated a rung below them, have gone five games without a win and have 15 points from 15 games. The Gaurs have to win all five of their remaining fixtures to stand a chance for a playoff berth.
Both teams know that their fate is hanging by a thread and a win at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Wednesday is absolutely necessary to challenge the teams above them.
The two teams have struggled to score this season and the root cause has been their inability to convert their shots into goals.
Goa and Chennaiyin have the worst (6.95) and second-worst (8.12) goal conversion rate. The two teams are one of four sides to have scored less than 20 goals this season.
For Bozidar Bandovic’s Chennaiyin, their run of fixtures have the odds stacked against them and if they are to stage a comeback, they have to put their best foot forward.
For Chennaiyin, they will face Odisha FC, Jamshedpur FC, Kerala Blasters FC and ATK Mohun Bagan; all teams in better shape and in a better place to contest for that top-four spot.
“We need to keep trying. Last game, we made so many mistakes with the ball in our feet and under no pressure. But we did good things as well and the boys gave everything on the field,” Bandovic said.
Chennaiyin will miss the services of defender Sajid Dhot and forward Vladimir Koman, and Bandovic said they are important players who will be missed.
On the upside, Chennaiyin and Goa play more passes in the final third before attempting a shot than other ISL teams this season.
For every one shot attempted by Goa this season, they complete 4.58 passes in the final third. This is a higher number of passes than any other team. Similarly, Chennaiyin are second in this ratio, completing 4.29 passes in the final third per attempted shot.
Both teams have also been overly reliant on foreign players to get the goals and their Indian contingent needs to fire as well for the teams to do well.
“We are taking it match by match. From now on, we are praying and hoping that results come our way. The situation here has improved and I see a lot of positive feelings in the team. The players are working hard. For the first time, the whole squad is available for tomorrow,” said Goa head coach Derrick Pereira.
The last time the two sides met, Goa beat Chennaiyin 1-0.
Asked if that helps boost morale, Pereira said: “Each and every match is a different match. We go into every game wanting to do our best. We have learnt from our mistakes. Hopefully, tomorrow if we perform the way we did in the first leg we will get a good result.”

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