Chennaiyin FC extended their impressive unbeaten run in the Durand Cup 2023 after a 2-1 win over Delhi FC in their last Group E match in Guwahati on Friday. Chenaniyin FC will be the only team from their group to get nine out of nine points, winning all their group matches.

Rafael Crivellaro (38’) and Vincy Barretto (51’) found the net for the Marina Machans.

Chennaiyin were already through to the quarter-finals and the match was all about maintaining the winning momentum as the tournament moves towards the business-end.

After a quiet start, the two teams tested each others' defence but struggled to score in the early part of the first half. Crivellaro finally broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when he received a pass from Sangwan and dribbled past two defenders to tap the ball low towards the left of the Delhi custodian.

Barretto also got on the scoresheet soon after the start of the second half. He received the ball from Sachu Siby and beat the keeper with his low strike.

Gassama scored three minutes after Barretto's strike to put Delhi FC on the board. Chennaiyin FC had almost scored the third goal when Romario Jesuraj received a pass from Crivellaro but his shot on target was saved by the keeper. The win also consolidated Chennaiyin's top spot in Group E.  

Bengaluru FC and Kerala Blasters FC share spoils in 2-2 thriller

The spoils were shared between Kerala Blasters FC and Bengaluru FC after the two sides played out a 2-2 draw in the 2023 Durand Cup at the Kishore Bharati Krirangan on Friday.

Justine Emmanuel (14’) opened the scoring for the Blasters but Bengaluru FC hit back with goals Edmund Lalrindika (38’) and Ashish Jha (52’) scored for the Blues before Mohammed Aimen (83’) salvaged a point for Kerala Blasters FC with a late goal.

The first half was dominated by the Blasters but ended all square. KBFC created the first chance of the game which came through captain Adrian Luna. The Uruguayan midfielder’s cross found Emmanuel Justine, who saw his attempt saved by Bengaluru FC custodian Amrit Gope.

They continued to pepper the Bengaluru FC box with boxes, launching one attack after another. Put under pressure by the opposition attack, the opening goal came after a defensive lapse from Bibiano Fernandes’ team.

Bryce Miranda took advantage of a misplaced pass and squared the ball to Vibin Mohanan, who in turne set up Emmanuel. The Nigerian forward squeezes his shot in at the near post to give Kerala Blasters FC a deserved lead. The Blasters continued to create chances and could have added two more goals to their tally had Emmanuel and Farooq converted their chances.

However, Bengaluru FC made their way back into the game, scoring against the run of play. Bekey Oram latched on to a long ball and set up Edmund Lalrindika, who beat the keeper with a low-driven effort.

While Kerala Blasters FC continued to dominate the game after the restart, Bengaluru FC stunned the opposition by taking the lead. Oram released Lalrindika after a quick counter-attack, who threaded a through ball into the box. Muhammed Saheef failed to clear the ball and Jha was quick to pounce on it as he made a swift turn and fired his shot into the far corner.

Ishan Pandita came off the bench in the second half and the young forward posed problems for the Bengaluru FC defence. He nearly came close to scoring the equaliser, but directed his header wide from Saurav Mandal’s cross.

The Blasters continued pushing for the equaliser and it didn’t take them long. Substitute Mohammed Aimen provided huge respite to the Blasters with a well-taken goal. Receiving a pass from Adrian Luna at the edge of the box, he drove forward and gently tucked his shot into the far corner.

Ruivah Hormipam was given his marching orders in the 85th minute, but Kerala Blasters FC managed to see the game out in what was a see-saw contest.

The Blasters FC will take on the Indian Air Force in their final group game while Bengaluru FC face group leaders Gokulam Kerala FC.