Chennaiyin FC end eight-game winless streak with victory over East Bengal FC

Chennaiyin FC put their eight-game winless streak in the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) to rest after a comfortable 2-0 win over East Bengal FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday. A Lalchungnunga own goal put the Marina Machans in front before Rahim Ali’s late goal managed to put them five points clear of the Torch Bearers with two games to go.

Chennaiyin FC started the game on the front foot and came close to opening the scoring after only three minutes. Akash Sangwan’s corner found its way through to Diagne, whose volley beat the defenders and goalkeeper before coming off the crossbar.

Vincy Barretto had a few opportunities in the first half, first flashing Karikari’s low cross across the face of an empty goal minutes later. Towards the end of the first half, he forced a save out of Kamaljit Singh at the near post after a mazing run.

It took East Bengal FC half-an-hour to register their first real attempt of the match. Cleiton Silva, Jake Jervis, Naorem Singh and Suhair VP were all involved in a slick one-touch passing move in the final third before Suhair rippled the outside of the net. Minutes later, Jervis pounced on a long ball and fired it inches wide at the far post.

The hosts were dealt a blow when Abdnasser El Khayati walked off the pitch clutching his hamstring and was replaced by Jiteshwor Singh. Moments after the substitution, Jervis came close again as his header came off Diagne and flew just wide of the post as the first half ended with the deadlock intact.

Chennaiyin FC took the lead in the 48th minute. A quickly taken Julius Duker free-kick came to Anirudh Thapa on the left flank. The midfielder’s cross was unwittingly slotted into the back of the net by Lalchungnunga, who was under pressure from Karikari.

Barretto was still searching for a goal and came close to bagging one just minutes after the deadlock was broken. Kamaljit slipped while taking a free kick that flew straight to Barretto. The winger adjusted his footing and unleashed a long-range strike towards goal, but couldn’t find enough curl on it to trouble Kamaljit.

Three minutes from time, Kamaljit came charging out of his box to try and beat Barretto to the ball. The winger stayed down as Rahim Ali pounced on it, and charged towards the goal before rounding the keeper and slotting it home to wrap the three points up for the Marina Machans.

Chennaiyin FC are out of the playoff race but will want to finish their season on a high when they visit playoff contenders FC Goa next on February 16. East Bengal FC remain winless against Chennaiyin FC and will shift their focus to a mountainous challenge against Mumbai City FC next on February 19.

Key Stats:
- Gurmukh Singh finished with a passing accuracy of 93% and made 3 clearances
- Charis Kyriakou attempted 5 tackles, made 4 interceptions and 2 clearances
- Vincy Barretto attempted the most shots (7) in the match

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