Chennai City & Minerva Play Out A Drab Goalless Draw
Chennai FC and Minerva Punjab failed to beget a humdinger opener despite sparks from both ends. Chennai found themselves on the move early in the game as Abhishek Das whipped in a scouring cross only to find Charles flat-footed and it went down as a miss.
Punjab retorted with a strong counter-blast when Joel Sunday brilliantly worked his way up and shot the ball wide. The match slogged down after that as both the teams failed to make inroads against each other.
Veterans Iche and Ravanan marshalled the Chennai defence to thwart any foray from Punjab while Loveday stood tall in the Punjab rearguard to see any dangers off. At the half hour mark, Manandeep sent in a brilliant cross but Amobi failed to latch on to it as Karanjit rushed forward to lay claims to the ball.
A minute later, Minerva had the best opportunity of the match when Joel Sunday came up with a brilliant cross after some fancied footwork, bamboozling the defenders and Manandeep had good amount of power to back his shot only for Karanjit to save it with his robust arms.
Chennai didn't lag far behind as three minutes later, Abhishek Das whipped in another lovely cross but Lalnun Mawpuia shot it straight at Ravi Kumar. In the dying embers of the first half, Minerva almost gave themselves the lead when Victor Amobi chipped in a delectable ball but Karanjit palmed it away with tantamount brilliance.
The second half witnessed a propulsion in the game as Minerva injected a lot of speed into it. Chennai came very nigh to rattle the deadlock on the hour mark, when Amiri cut in brilliantly snaking past a couple of defenders and with an adept touch to kept the ball in and surpassed Karanjit too but Arnab was alert on the line as he traded that for a throw.
A few minutes later, Amobi sent in a curling cross and ambitious Manandeep failed to connect despite his acrobatic bicycle attempt.
Chennai seemed rejuvenated after the introduction of Marcos. Quite a burly stature being used to the fullest when he probed the Punjab defence for one last time in the dying embers of the game.
After powering past Ravanan and overspeeding past Iche, he unleashed a very emaciated shot only to be stymied by Ravi Kumar.
That summed it all for the debutants. They looked shaky at times and stellar at times.
Karanjit Singh, the custodian of Chennai FC was adjudged the man of the match.