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Chennaiyin rally to hold Goa

Goa: Chennaiyin FC rallied to hold FC Goa to a 1-1 draw in the second semifinal of the Indian Super League here on Saturday with the visitors heading home with an away goal advantage.

After a barren first half, Goa, who had lion's share of possession and exchanges, took the lead in the 64th minute through Manuel Lanzorate.

But Chennaiyin, who defended well and came up with dangerous counter attacks, restored parity in the 71st minute through substitute Anirudh Thapa.

With Saturday's 1-1 draw, Chennaiyin, who are now heading home to play the second leg of the semifinal, have the away goal advantage and now need just a goalless draw against Goa on March 13 to advance to the summit clash.

Backed by a vociferous home crowd, Goa went into attacking mode from the start and enjoyed better share of ball possession.

Mandar Rao Desai, who posed a lot of threat on the left, came up with a 25-yard shot which rival keeper Karanjit Singh did well to put the ball out by diving to his right.

Chennaiyin, who did well in defending their citadel for better part of the first half, too came up with dangerous counter-attacks with Jeje and Gregory Nelson's low shot narrowly missing the target.

Changing over the visitors had two golden chances to take lead. First Jeje, who went past defender Juste, saw his effort being blocked by keeper Kattimani in the 48th minute before Nelson Alves' try was brilliantly saved by the custodian.

After the close shaves, the home team quickly settled down into a rhythm and made inroads into the rival box but Chennaiyin FC put up stiff resistance until the home team finally drew the first blood in the 64th minute.

From the left, Desai send a cross inside the box for Ferran Corominas who took a crack at the goal which keeper dived to his right and blocked but the deflection landed on Manuel Lanzarote's feet who slammed the ball into the net.

But FC Goa's joy was short-lived as the visitors found the equaliser seven minutes later.

A quick build up on the left saw Gregory Nelson get past rival defender inside the box and laid a through pass to substitute Anirudh Thapa, who got the better of a rival defender before despatching the ball into the net.

Both the teams made couple of changes in the final stages to break the deadlock but they failed as they match ended in a stalemate.

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