I-League: Chennai City FC 2-0 Aizawl FC
Debutants Chennai City FC registered their maiden victory in I-League, 2017 as they went on to trounce Aizawl FC by 2 goals riding on strikes from Brazilian duo of Marcos Vinicius and Charles to log valuable 3 points and elevate the team out of the relegation zone in a round 5 encounter of the I-League.
Marcos Vinicius, who was adjudged as the man of the match in the previous game against Mohun Bagan, was once again the first one to open the scoring for the hosts. He unleashed a pile-driver from quite some distance, which sailed into the back of the net, leaving a flatfooted Albino Gomes staring in disgust.
Charles sealed the fate of the tie when he calmly placed the spot-kick home, sending Albino Gomes in an opposite direction.
After a lackadaisical first-half which was mostly laden and plagued with harsh tackles and infernal display from both the contingencies, the second-half begot a cracker of a game that went right down to the wire.
Chennai could have found themselves ahead in the game within 20 minutes when Dhanpal Ganesh’s through-ball spotted Edwin Sidney, who did exceptionally well to receive the ball and charge down the left with acres of free space and with all the time in the world. Haplessly, before he could have unleashed a shot or probably a cross that would have insinuated any plight for the visitors, he slipped and the chance was frittered away.
Aizawl came up with a tantamount retort when Mahmoud Al-Amna chipped in with a delectable cross only for Ashutosh Mehta to squander it away.
One of the most glaring glitches for the visitors that surfaced over and over again was an advancement of their custodian, Albino Gomes. He could have conceded well within a couple of minutes into the second half when he darted down the line to thwart an attempt, but Alfred Jaryan stepped in with his interception thereby creating an opportunity for the opposition.
It wasn’t long before Chennai drew first blood as Marcos Vinicius, who is dotingly known as the Tank, blasted a pile-driver past a stranded Albino Gomes, who was well off his line and was a mere onlooker when the ball sailed into the net.
On the one hour mark, Haroon Amiri came up with another scintillating free-kick, which flew inches over. Albino Gomes was once again coming off his line to fist it away but failed miserably.
Chennai seemed relentless in the second-half after the goal. They could have easily compounded their lead only if Edwin Sidney could have put some sting in his header. The header was thwarted on the line by a fully stretched Kingsley.
Abhra Mondal came in with a couple of brilliant saves as well to keep his team afloat in the game. He darted off his line to deny any room to a speeding Ashutosh Mehta.
Chennai unleashed a fusillade of long-rangers and free-kicks against Aizawl but all were thwarted either by the brilliance of Alfred and Kingsley or the efforts went down as misses.
Aizawl, on the contrary, were not much behind as they tested the Chennai rearguard with their own gung-ho. Had it not been for Abhra Mondal in the dying embers of the game, things could have easily been all square for the visitors. Mahmoud Al-Amna after some stellar footwork unleashed a powerful shot at the goal which was palmed away by a fully stretched Abhra Mondal.
Lalruatthara came tantalizingly close to scoring when his header was denied by the woodwork in the dying embers of the game.
Moments later, Chennai was on the counter-attack and their breakneck speed caught Aizawl off their guard.
A darting Prashant whipped in a delightful cross for Charles, who in an attempt to latch on to the ball was tripped by Lalramchullova. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Charles stepped up to the penalty and calmly slotted it home, sealing the rout for the hosts.
The end of the match was marked by some fisticuffs between Haroon Amiri and Kingsley, which did mar the brilliance of the game but it by no means trivialized the tenacity and grit from Chennai City.
Marcos Vinicius was adjudged as the man of the match for the second time on a bounce.
Man of the match: Marcos Vinicius
Feverpitch’s man of the match: Haroon Fakhruddin Amiri