I–League newbies Chennai City FC made a statement by shocking highflying Aizawl FC with a 2-0 win over the visitors in a scintillating encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai. Two-second half goals from Marcos Tank and Charles D’Souza ensured valuable three points for Robin Charles’ men at home taking them to four points.
Robin Charles Raja made two changes in the Chennai City lineup with Darrein Caldeira and Abhra Mondal coming in. The big news was the omission of Karanjit Singh who apparently picked up a niggle. More importantly, captain Dharmaraj Ravanan was ruled out and Haroon Amiri stepped up in the defense besides Echezona.
Khalid Jamil, meanwhile, opted to go in with the same team that started the win against Mumbai FC.
The game started on a drab note with both sides sending across a plethora of long balls and punts forward.
It seemed Aizawl and Chennai City were trying to build some rhythm without much effect. The first chance of the game, though, went Chennai City’s way when Raju’s good cross into the box fell to Edwin on the edge of the area. The winger, though, completely miscued his attempted volley.
To make matters worse, Chennai’s Brazilian forward Charles de Souza missed a sitter in the 30th minute. Marcos Tank did well to maneuver some space for himself down the left and delivered an accurate cross which only needed a touch by Charles from point blank range.But the forward tried a scissor kick and miscued the ball.
Though Aizawl slowly grew into the game, there were no other clear cut opportunities for both teams as the first half ended scoreless.
The second period started with Chennai City on the ascendancy and the home side grabbed the lead in the 53rd minute out of nowhere. A ball forward waspicked up by Tank who was at least 25 yards out from goal.But the Brazilian paused andstruck an effort towards goal.The shot had pace and it dippedinto the goal over the goalkeeper who did not move a muscle.
Aizawl were shocked by that goal and started attacking with vibrancy and had chances to equalise. Al Amna’s top-corner bound shot was palmed over by Abhra Mondal before Lalruatthara headed a cross onto the cross bar, much to the frustration on Khalid Jamil.
But the game would see dramatic moments in injury time. First, Chennai City were awarded a penalty after Kingsley brought down Charles who received the ball inside the box after a fantastic corner. The referee pointed to the spot and Charles stroked the ball down the middle to seal the tie for Chennai City.
But there were ugly scenes in the immediate aftermath as Prasanth was tackled by Kingsley on another counter which led to the Chennai players taking offence. It sparked a huge melee with almost all players getting involved in it. Kingsley and Lalruatthara picked up bookings for the same while Amiri also went into the referee’s book.
The incident did not take the sheen out of Chennai’s victory which is their first ever win in the I-League. The South Indian side will now face Shillong Lajong away on Tuesday while Khalid Jamil’s side, whose winning run has been ended, face a home tie against DSK Shivajians FC.
(Report & Photo courtesy: I-League Media)