Updated April 20th, 2024 at 00:46 IST

ISL 2023-24 Playoffs: Upbeat Chennaiyin FC eye semi-finals berth against arch-rivals FC Goa

Owen Coyle's men became the first ISL side to register three back-to-back comeback victories in the league stage and each goal was scored by a different player.

Chennaiyin FC | Image:Special arrangement

Chennaiyin FC's journey in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 is another testament to their unrelenting attitude. With the miracle man Owen Coyle back at the helm, the Marina Machans qualified for the playoffs after four years and are in pursuit of their third title.

Chennaiyin will face their first hurdle on Saturday when they lock horns with arch-rivals FC Goa in the knockout game at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Margao, Goa for a place in the semi-final.


Owen Coyle's men became the first ISL side to register three back-to-back comeback victories in the league stage and each goal was scored by a different player in those wins, signalling the team's collective strength and resilience. 

The rivalry between Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa has evolved over the years into a fiercely competitive and high-scoring encounter. Although Chennaiyin lost their final league stage game against Goa, they hold an edge over the Gaurs when it comes to the head-to-head record in the ISL knockout games, having won three and drawn one from five matches played between them.  


While addressing the media ahead of the all-important game, head coach Owen Coyle seemed confident as he recognised his team’s ability to win the crucial game away from home.  

"We are excited for the upcoming match and looking forward to it. The team is going into the match with a positive mindset, knowing how well we have been playing in the league, especially in the three wins against Mohun Bagan Super Giant, Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United FC where we had to win in the last minutes," Coyle commented during the pre-match press conference on Friday. 
The head coach added: "We know that we go there, and a lot of people perceive us as a big underdog in the game which is fine; that's not a problem. Obviously, we're away from home but it's a game we can win. We are also very respectful of the quality that FC Goa possess. They have got good international players in addition to the domestic players but we have got good records for big games and that's what we want to do."


Captain Ryan Edwards also lauded the unity in the team as they aim to clinch the trophy. Edwards has been in fine form and has contributed to the wins along with the likes of Rafael Crivellaro, who has registered the third-highest assists (7) in ISL 2023-24 and Jordan Murray, the highest scorer for the team this season with five goals.

"I think it certainly helps, it's all well and obviously, then you have to go on the field and perform. So, it helps to your advantage but in the end, it comes down to the 90-minute game and now it's the knockout game and we all want to do well and go to get the trophy. I don't think the upcoming game is any much different than going into a league game and our performance in the last few games speaks for itself about how important it is for the club.


"We haven't been in the playoffs for a few years, so, that's an achievement in itself but it's only one achievement from where we're trying to get to, and that's well-known to everyone. Obviously, the next game is a big game and everybody is nice and relaxed and there's no pressure as we have beaten top teams away from home before as well," Edwards said.

The match will begin at 7:30 PM IST as the fans can watch the action live on Viacom18 and JioCinema.


Head-to-head (ISL Playoffs):
Matches: 5, CFC: 3, FCG: 1, Draw: 1


Published April 20th, 2024 at 00:46 IST