Chennaiyin FC extend unbeaten start after intense draw against ATK Mohun Bagan

Chennaiyin FC preserved their unbeaten start to the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) season after a 1-1 draw against ATK Mohun Bagan at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Margao, Goa on Saturday.

The draw also put an end to ATK Mohun Bagan’s two-match losing run.

Liston Colaco (18’) put the Mariners in front but Vladimir Koman (45’) equalised for the Marina Machans just before the interval.

Antonio Habas’ men started the game on the front foot, bossing possession and pushing Bozidar Bandovic’s side back in their own half.

Colaco had the first attempt of the game when he shot from distance trying to catch Vishal Kaith out in the sixth minute but his effort was not on target.

The Goan though broke Chennaiyin FC’s resistance in the 18th minute when he slotted home past Kaith after being found by an inch-perfect through ball from Roy Krishna.

Chennaiyin FC though responded emphatically to falling behind in the game and started dictating terms with Anirudh Thapa the shining light. Koman came close to restoring parity in the 27th minute as he drilled a low shot that just evaded the target after a brilliant passing move.

Thapa then came very close to scoring two minutes later when Chhangte fed him with a pinpoint cross but his shot from that cutback was deflected away from the target.

Chennaiyin FC kept up the pressure on the Mariners as the corner count increased for Bandovic’s men but Habas’ side who welcomed back Spanish defender Tiri to their line-up were able to resist the onslaught.

However, Chennaiyin were not to be denied on the stroke of half time after Koman fired past Amrinder after latching onto a loose ball following a long throw-in.

The two sides went level pegging at the interval but Chennaiyin FC had ended the first half as the stronger team.

ATK Mohun Bagan though carved out the first opening of the second half when he skipped past two markers to run clear on the byline and cut it back for Hugo Boumous whose effort sailed wide of the target in the 47th minute.

The Mariners missed another chance to take the lead in the 62nd minute when Joni Kauko failed to finish from close range from a corner.

The two teams enjoyed spells of dominance but neither team could conjure up a winning goal. Chennaiyin FC ended the game strongly as ATK Mohun Bagan did well to stave off the late threat and secure a point in an intense affair.

The point that stretched Chennaiyin FC’s unbeaten run this season to four games lifted them to third place in the table while the Mariners remained in sixth spot despite snapping their losing run.

ATK Mohun Bagan face Bengaluru FC in their next match on Thursday while Chennaiyin FC are up against leaders Mumbai City FC a day earlier.

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