‘Crivellaro is back at his best’ – Csaba Laszlo’s Chennaiyin FC stifles FC Goa, but waste remains a concern

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The Marina Machans were back on the winning track after four games …

Rafael Crivellaro has, without a doubt, been one of the most creative midfielders in the Indian Super League (ISL) since joining Chennaiyin FC last season. And the Brazilian proved once again how important he is to the team after scoring and assisting in Chennaiyin’s 2- win over FC Goa on Saturday night.

The Marina Machans entered the match without registering a win in their last four matches and were desperate for three points against FC Goa, who also entered this match after a loss.

Crivellaro, who had missed Chennaiyin’s goalless draw against NorthEast United, brought a lot of creativity and cunning to his midfield. If in the first few matches Crivellaro seemed a bit out of sync with Jakub Sylvestr and Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, that was not the case on Saturday.

Even last season, it took Crivellaro about five or six games before he joined fellow attackers Nerijus Valskis and Andre Schembri.

He seemed to have found that wavelength where his fellow forwards were operating again and was finding them with his passes easily against Goa. Anirudh Thapa’s energy in midfield also meant that Laszlo’s tactics to prevent Goa from playing under constant pressure were very effective.

With constant pressure from the start, the Gaurs couldn’t follow their natural game. In many ways this match should have been lopsided with Chennaiyin winning by a few goals, only for Chhangte and even Crivellaro to squander golden opportunities.

Against FC Goa, the striking thing is that Csaba Lazslo’s team looked a lot like or resembled Owen Coyle’s Chennaiyin FC from the second half of last season.

Rafel Crivellar, FC Goa vs Chennaiyin

They put pressure on opposition defenders and midfielders, try to win the ball high up on the pitch and initiate quick attacks. They also seek to close the goalkeeper, who seeks to play from behind. Chennaiyin was clearly targeting Mohammed Nawaz given his short stature and thus Rafael Crivellaro’s first goal where he sent his corner kick straight into the back of the net. In fact, he almost did well once more in the first half.

Of all the players who have left FC Goa since last season, the player who has not been replaced and who continues to fight in their absence is Ahmed Jahouh. The Moroccan would reinforce the game from behind and also double as a destroyer with his tactical fouls. Ferrando has entrusted Bedia with the same responsibility, however, the Spaniard is more effective higher up the field than when asked to sit down and spray the ball.

That absence of a foothold in midfield meant that as Goa tried to play from behind, they couldn’t cope with the pressure and pace of Chennaiyin, yielding the ball many times in dangerous spaces.

Chennaiyin’s second goal grew out of such a mistake with Crivellaro capitalizing and finding Rahim Ali to take advantage of.

This is not to say that Goa was poor in general. Jorge Ortiz and Igor Angulo were brilliant up front, especially Ortiz, who appears to be a quality player with the ball. It was their determination and cunning that brought FC Goa to an equal level in the first half. But apart from Ortiz and Angulo, the rest of the Goa team seemed fatigued.

Maybe it was fatigue, but the fact is, Laszlo’s Chennaiyin FC easily outplayed FC Goa. It could be said that they also did it against the city of Mumbai, just because of individual mistakes that they dug their own wells.

After a desperately needed victory, Chennaiyin FC will look to start and unite a winning run. For FC Goa, he returns to the drawing board after back-to-back defeats.


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