ISL 2017 is two days old, and the fourth edition is still waiting for its first goal. Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa will be keen to become the first team to score a goal and end up with three points: The two teams are set for a head-to-head encounter at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
Chennaiyin were a major disappointment last season, finishing seventh. FC Goa failed to reach the semifinals, finishing eight in the competition. Things cannot get any worse for the teams, who will be looking to start well in ISL 2017. It is redemption time for Chennaiyin FC and FC Goa.
With fresh men in charge — John Gregory for Chennaiyin FC and Sergio Lobera for FC Goa coach — both teams will look to come out all guns blazing.
FC Goa had a good pre-season in Spain, where they looked good. They also defeated some big teams like Mohun Bagan in their recent friendlies, which will put them in a confident mood.
Goa have looked an impressive side, playing some attractive football, and can be expected continue doing so in ISL 2017, including in their opening match against Chennaiyin FC.
Though Lobera is missing one of his big players — Adrian Colunga — he coach remains confident ahead of the clash.
"I'm very excited for the first game. We're raring to go. Of course, we are not at 100 per cent as teams develop over the season and we're also at the same stage. Colunga was not 100 per cent fit. So we decided to leave him out of the matchday squad. Rest of the squad are fit and are excited to start the season. We're looking forward to it," Lobera said.
Chennaiyin FC must be aware of Goa's pre-season, where they produced some impressive results. Besides that, the Gaurs were a treat to watch on the field, troubling defenders with their tiki-taka style.
The home team should not think about their opponents too much and just concentrate on the match, which will be attended by their supporters in large numbers.
Gregory wants his team to get off the blocks quickly in ISL 2017, after it produced after a miserable result last year.
"You wanna start well. Obviously, for our fans who stood by us during through thick and thin. They will be here in their droves and there will be a great atmosphere at the stadium. Want to reward our fans, who stuck by us through a difficult year (last year)," Gergory said.
With quality players like Jeje Lalpekhlua in their ranks, Chennaiyin have the ammunitions to pick three points on Sunday.
Where to watch live
Chennaiyin FC vs FC Goa is scheduled for 5:30 pm IST start.
TV guide: India - Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports Hindi 1/HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold, Star UTSAV, Jalsha Movies, Suvarna Plus.
Live streaming: Hotstar