Chennai go top of the table with resounding 3-0 win over NorthEast
Chennaiyin FC got their first victory of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 after a convincing 3-0 win over NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday. An Abdul Hakku own goal opened the floodgates before further strikes from Raphael Augusto and Mohammed Rafi secured a comfortable three points for the home side.
Chennai got a scare as early as the fourth minute when their custodian Karanjit Singh, in an attempt at a clearance, gave the ball straight to Seiminlen Doungel. Doungel though failed to put the ball into an unguarded net from distance much to the relief of the home crowd.
Three minutes later, Chennai missed a golden opportunity as some good work down the left by Gregory Nelson saw him produce an inch-perfect cross for Francis Fernandes, who failed to keep his header on target.
The home side though got their goal in the 11th minute, albeit with some good fortune. Augusto cut inside from the left, and unleashed a shot that took a wicked deflection of Hakku’s head to wrong-foot TP Rehenesh and find the back of the net.
Chennai were relentless even after taking the lead and Augusto got his name on the scorecard in the 25th minute. Following a lay-off from Nelson’s cushioned header, Augusto’s strike went through a melee in the box and under Rehenesh’s diving arms to double the advantage for the hosts.
The Highlanders did their best to keep attacking, but Chennai’s defence, led by captain Henrique Sereno stood strong, hardly allowing any room. Chennaiyin thus went into the tunnel at the break with a two-goal lead.
The second period began with both teams looking to be positive but Chennaiyin had the first chance of the half in the 62nd minute. After Rehenesh had failed to clear a Mailson Alves free-kick, Jeje Lalpekhlua’s chipped cross from the rebound found Augusto, who failed to keep his header on target.
The Highlanders finally got their first noteworthy chance in the 74th minute, but substitute Halicharan Narzary, agonizingly missed with his shot from a difficult angle. Chennai, however, kept knocking on the door and got their third in the 84th minute through a combination of their substitutes.
Jaime Gavilan’s free-kick hit the underside of the crossbar and looped off the keeper. Rafi was the first to the loose ball and nodded it into the empty net. A few minutes later, Marcinho took charge of a free-kick of his own, but it was not to be NorthEast’s night as the shot flashed inches wide of goal. That was the last chance of significance in the game as Chennai picked up their first victory and first points of the season.
Club Award: Chennaiyin FC
Moment of the Match: Mohammed Rafi
Winning pass of the match: Gregory Nelson
Fittest Player: Francisco Fernandes
Emerging Player of the match: Jerry Lalrinzuala
Hero of the Match: Raphael Augusto