FC Goa defeated Chennaiyin FC by 4-1 to become the third team to qualify for the Durand Cup 2023 semi-finals. The 2020-21 season winners of the tournament made a comeback after conceding an early goal. Chennaiyin FC got the lead via a brilliant header from Bikash Yunman but could not hold on to the lead as Carl McHugh, Carlos Martinez, Noah Sadaoui and Victor Rodriguez scored for FC Goa to win the match. The Gaurs now will play against the winner between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Mumbai City FC on 30th August
Just like the last game between Emami East Bengal and Gokulam Kerala, a corner provided an early goal. Bikash Yunman's bullet header from an on-point corner by Ayush Adhikari gave the early goal to Chennaiyin FC in the fifth minute of the game. Seriton Fernandes failed to mark Bikash and the 19-year-old Manipuri defender did not miss the chance to net the ball.
Post the goal, FC Goa picked up their pace and created a few opportunities in the next few minutes. In the 9th minute, FC Goa nearly equalised with Carlos Martinez hitting the bar with a header. Noah Sadaoui provided the cross from the left flank for Carlos. Seconds later, Carlos had another chance from a low through ball from Noah but the Spaniard could not get a touch on the ball to score the equaliser.
FC Goa kept on attacking with Udanta on the right, Noah on the left and Carlos doing his trick in the middle. In the 13th minute, Undanta missed a good-looking chance. Carlos Martinez himself was in a scoring position but he passed it to Udanta in the right who shoots it wide from a difficult angle. In the next fifteen minutes, both teams looked to consolidate their defence. Sandesh Jhingan cleared a few balls to deny Chennaiyan FC whereas Bikash Yunman looked solid in defence for the Marina Machans.
Carl McHugh on his debut scored to equalise for FC Goa. In the 30th minute of the game, Udanta first played a one-two with Brandon before providing a cross to Noah on the left who dropped the ball by a header for Carl to shoot inside the goal. A minute later, Udanta Singh's cross was beautifully set up for Noah Sadaoui to head into the goal. But, this time Noah could not be on target to give FC Goa a lead.
Seven minutes after the equaliser, in 37th minute Carlos Martinez made fun of the Chennaiyin defenders to make a few turns before lobbing the ball over Shamik Mitra who was just out of his position. FC Goa continued dominating the position as Chennaiyin FC struggled to keep Noah and Udanta silent. In the added minutes, Noah created another chance from the left. But, his cross was first deflected by Rahil Ali but went straight to Saviour Gama whose shot was blocked by Sachu Saby to keep the scoreline 2-1 in the first half.
Chennaiyin kicked off the second half replacing Sachu Siby with Ajith Kumar in the defence. In the 50th minute, Chennaitin had the chance to make a comeback in the match but Rahil Ali could not at the right place at the right time. Jordan Murray provided a great cross from the right towards Rahil Ali who could not reach the ball for a tap-in.
In the 53rd minute, Noah's touch from outside of the boot was falling perfectly for Udanta but Aakash Sangwan's little touch deflects the ball. Sangwan had the chance to score from a set piece after Saviour Gama fouled Jordan Murray 35 yards outside the box to receive the first yellow card of the match. But, the defender could not be on target to bring everything to level. Post that, Alexandar Stewart brought a double change to bring some fresh leg. Rahim Ali and Cristian Battocchio were replaced by Jiteshwor Singh.
Indian National team defender Sandesh Jhingan who has a habit of scoring from set pieces, nearly was on target via a header in the 62nd minute. Brandon's inswinging free-kick from just outside the box was just perfect for Jhinghan but he could not control his header. As the game progressed, FC Goa made a double change to keep their lead. Defender Saviour Gama and midfielder Raynier Fernandes were replaced by Jay Gupta and Rowling Borges.
In the 72nd minute, Jordan Murray tried to make something happen for Chennaiyin FC against the run of play but Jhinghan was there to make the slide and giveaway a corner. Seconds later Dheeraj Singh was forced to make his first save of the second half after Murray's header was on target. Substitute Ajith Kumar provided the cross for him.
Chennaiyin FC managed to gain some rhythm as the game entered the final 15 minutes. In the 79th minute, Chennaiyin FC received a free-kick from five yards outside the box as Jay Gupta fouled Jordan in the right. Aakash Sangwan was on target this time from the spot but Dheeraj Singh was ready to punch it over the bar.
As Chennaiyin FC looked for the equaliser, FC Goa nearly found another goal in the counterattack. In the 84th minute, Substitute Borris Singh from right made a great run but his cross towards Noah in the middle of the box was cleared by Ajith. In the added minutes, Noah Sadaoui scored his fifth goal of the tournament as Carl McHugh provided a delicious pass to him inside the six yards. Noah calmly did the rest of the thing to make it 3-1 for them.
In the 93rd minute, Victor Rodriguez increased the lead to make sure FC Goa qualified for the semis of the Durand Cup. The substitute received a great assist from another substitute Borris and then curled in inside the goal to make it 4-1 for the Gaurs.
FC Goa will face the winners between Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Mumbai City FC on 30th August at Yuba Bharati Stadium in Kolkata.