The Chennaiyin FC B team concluded their maiden Durand Cup campaign with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against the Indian Air Force at the Mohun Bagan Ground today. Striker Bawlte Rohmingthanga and goalkeeper Samik Mitra stood out at both ends of the pitch, as CFC B were made to defend resolutely in the second period. With the result, Chennaiyin FC B finish in third place in Group D, ahead of TRAU FC.
There was one change to the Chennaiyin FC B team starting line-up, from the side that had to settle for a point against TRAU FC a day earlier, with the match abandoned due to Force Majeure conditions. Sahil Kumar made his full debut for Chennaiyin FC B, coming in for Ahino Paul at left-back.
Chennaiyin FC B began brightly, striker Rohmingthanga a.k.a. Minga striking the woodwork within the opening ten minutes. The Mizo attacker’s left-footed turn and volley from the edge of the box had the IAF keeper beaten all ends up, but the crossbar came to their rescue.
IAF resorted to playing on the counter, with Chennaiyin FC B bossing the midfield as well as possession. Midfielder Shahbaz was IAF’s brightest spark in the first period, as he sent an effort over Chennaiyin FC B keeper Samik’s bar after being found unmarked at the edge of the box.
At the other end, Minga again came close to giving Chennaiyin FC B the lead, when Sahil found him in the box with a pinpoint cross from the left flank. Minga again turned and shot but missed the mark by a whisker.
It was end-to-end at this point, after the half-hour mark as Shahbaz again had a glorious chance to score for IAF. The midfielder was put through one-on-one with Samik in the Chennaiyin FC B goal, only for the former to put his effort wide.
With half-time approaching, the Indian Air Force side created the better openings. Striker Farhad pulled a brilliant save out of Samik, but the shot was trickling towards goal, only for defender Ajith K. to clear it away. Chennaiyin FC B averted IAF’s onslaught at the end of the first half to go in goalless at the break.
It was a cagey restart to proceedings, in the second period, with both teams trying to find their feet in pursuit of the opening goal. Chennaiyin FC B made the first change of the match, bringing in Ahino Paul at left back, in place of debutant Sahil.
Minga continued to work hard upfront, winning the ball at the half-way line and carrying it to the edge of the box, only for his shot to bring out a routine save from the keeper.
With the hour mark gone, IAF were dominating proceedings as Chennaiyin FC B resorted to playing on the counter. From one such break, Joysana surged down the left flank, dribbling from his own box and beating two defenders. His final shot though was a weak one and easily gathered.
Farhad then had another big chance to put IAF ahead. The ball fell kindly to the striker after a missed Chennaiyin FC B clearance, only for Hendry Antonay to put in a goal-saving tackle and clear the danger. Shubham Mane was subsequently replaced in the Chennaiyin FC B midfield by Ajin Tom.
The IAF striker was again guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance, when he was found unmarked in the box a few minutes later. His resulting shot went over the post.
Chennaiyin FC B made their final change with the final minutes approaching, as forward Balkar Singh replaced midfielder Vignesh V. Ahino Paul went into the book, receiving a yellow card for a rough tackle on the halfway line.
Both sides pushed hard for the winner in the closing stages, however it ended in a stalemate. With this result, Chennaiyin FC B concluded their maiden Durand Cup campaign on two points in third place in Group D.