Chennai City FC returned to winning ways in the Hero I-League after a 1-0 victory over Indian Arrows at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium in Kolkata, West Bengal on Friday, January 29, 2021. In a game largely dominated by Satyasagara’s men, it was Elvedin Skrijelj’s 63rd-minute header that was the difference between the two sides.
Chennai City made five changes to their starting XI after their loss against TRAU, bringing in Vladimir Molerovic, Suhail Pasha, Nagappan, Jishnu and Jockson Dhas. The Indian Arrows, coming into this game after their defiant performance in the 1-1 draw against Aizawl, made two changes – Harsh Patre and Sajad Hussain Paray, who scored the last gasp equaliser against Aizawl, were replaced by Vibin Mohanan and Parthib Gogoi.
Chennai City FC made a bright start to the game. The first chance of the game fell to them as early as the fourth minute when Mohamed Iqbal was played onto goal. However, Indian Arrows custodian Syed Hussain Bukhari swept off his line to deny them an opener.
Chennai kept attacking in the opening ten minutes and threatened to break the deadline on the 12th with a well-built move. However, Vijay Nagappan’s shot across the goal was tame and easily handled by Bukhari.
The former Hero I-League champions held most of the possession and dominated the early proceedings, while the Arrows looked to hit them on the counter. Arrows got their first chance a little after the quarter-hour mark, when Vibhin Mohanan tried a long ranger, but his shot was always rising.
A minute later, Chennai City came close again to open the scoring as Jishnu’s deflected cross fell to Suhail Pasha, who skied his volley.
The game slowed down considerably after these early exchanges. However, Chennai kept on failing to penetrate the Arrows defence as both the teams headed off into the halftime break without a goal.
Chennai City returned in the second half and immediately started to pile pressure and won a corner. Bukhari made his first impactful save as he tipped Suhail Pasha’s header over the bar. Moments later, Iqbal Hussain blasted his volley over the goal.
The Coimbatore-based side kept applying the pressure through, but the final deliveries could not penetrate the Arrows defence. They finally broke the deadlock and the Arrows’ defence in the 63rd minute. Iqbal’s corner was met by Elvedin Skrijelj at the far post, and the Serbian midfielder powered his header into the roof of the net.
Satyasagara’s side almost doubled their lead minutes later, when Bukhari was unable to collect Rajesh’s bouncing shot. However, the danger was cleared by the Arrows defence.
The Arrows made a final push with a range of attacking substitutions, but Satyasagara’s men held them off to win their second game of the season.