Chennaiyin FC got off the mark in the Hero Super Cup with a brilliant team performance as the Marina Machans won 4-2 against NorthEast United FC in their opening fixture of Group D at the Payyanad Stadium, Manjeri, in Kerala, on Tuesday.

A brace from Rahim Ali (17', 82') and goals from Edwin Vanspaul (33') and Julius Duker (50') helped Chennaiyin FC move past NorthEast United FC.

Rochharzela and Laldanmawia Ralte scored (42') and (92') for the Highlanders but it wasn't enough as the Marina Machans scored at the regular intervals to take the game away from Floyd Pinto's men.

Chennaiyin FC started the match on the front foot and their efforts paid off in the 17th minute when Rahim Ali headed the ball past Mirshad Michu from a beautiful Vafa Hakhamaneshi cross from the right wing, handing the lead to Thomas Brdaric's men.

After a repetition of fouls by Alex Saji, the centre-back was booked in the 22nd minute for a foul on the Marina Machans goal scorer Ali.

The first big chance for the Highlanders came in the 24th minute when Jithin M.S was brought down at the edge of the box by Jiteshwor Singh. However, Romain Philippoteaux failed to convert the set-piece as his freekick hit Chennaiyin FC's wall and was cleared out.

The Marina Machans got the second goal of the night with some mindful play as Aakash Sangwan cheekily got his head onto Jiteshwor Singh's cross from the left wing that fell towards Edwin Vanspaul, who volleyed it brilliantly in style to give a two-goal lead to his side.

The Highlanders pulled a goal back before half-time at the 42nd-minute mark. Alisher Kholmurodov's long ball was beautifully set up by Jithin MS for Wilmar Gil, whose shot was saved by the onrushing Samik Mitra only for Rochharzela to smash the rebound in and bring the Highlanders back in the mix.

The lively first half came to an end with Chennaiyin FC going into the break with a 2-1 lead.

The two-time Hero ISL champions firmed their grip on the match with a goal five minutes into the restart. Sangwan delivered his second assist of the game with a whipped corner for Julius Duker to smash it in from point-blank range as the ball bounced off the crossbar and rolled in to restore their two-goal cushion.

Chennaiyin FC had almost extended their lead in the 60th minute when Kwame Karikari overpowered Kholmurodov, skipped past Saji's last-ditch tackle, and rounded Michu but he blasted his effort wide off the target.

Minutes later, Mitra kept his guard sharp as he produced an outstanding point-blank save to the Highlanders' Kholmurodov header after the substitute Emil Benny found the centre-back at the back post.

To cap off a brilliant team performance, Rahim Ali got his second goal of the night after the attacker headed in Vanspaul's cross following a corner in the 82nd minute. 

NorthEast United FC scored at the dying moments after Emil Benny played Laldanmawia Ralte in following a moment of brilliance for Ralte to dribble Mitra and score the second goal of the night for the Highlanders.

The match ended 4-2 with the Marina Machans opening their Hero Super Cup campaign with a win.

The table-toppers will now face Churchill Brothers on Saturday in the second fixture of Group D.

Mumbai City FC ride on a spirited comeback to win against Churchill Brothers

Mumbai City FC secured a spirited 2-1 comeback victory against Churchill Brothers in their opening group stage game of the Hero Super Cup at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, Kerala, on Tuesday. 

The Hero ISL Shield winners started the game in typical fashion and got into their passing rhythm swiftly. They were making Churchill Brothers chase the ball from the get go, as they were controlling possession with ease.

The first chance of the game in the 3rd minute of the game. Bipin found Vinit on the left wing with a smart through ball after the Islanders’ number 16 had made his way forward. Vinit Rai then played a grounded ball towards the centre of the box hoping to find Vikram Partap Singh, but the ball was nicked just in front of him by a Churchill defender.

Churchill Brothers however, took the lead early on in the game in the 8th minute. Vignesh played a back pass to Phurba Lachenpa from outside the box. Phurba miscontrolled the ball and was stolen off him by Ansumana Kromah, who dribbled around a recovering Phurba and slotted the ball into an empty net to make it 1-0 in favour of Churchill Brothers.

Mumbai City FC looked to equalise swiftly and created the next chance of the game in the 15th minute. Rowllin Borges played a glorious long ball towards Chhangte who had made his way to the centre of the box. Chhangte controlled the ball expertly and tried lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper into the net but his shot landed on the roof of the net instead. 

The Islanders equalised in the 26th minute of the game. Rowllin Borges played a delicious curling ball towards the far post from a set piece near the halfway line. Mehtab Singh had peeled away from his marker and headed the ball into the goal at the far post to make it 1-1 as the Churchill Brothers keeper failed to punch the ball away.

Mumbai City FC created the next chance of the game in the 38th minute of the game. After Rowllin Borges put in a great ball into the box from a set-piece the ball was knocked loose into the box and was collected by Hardik on the left side. He played the ball to Vignesh who was right outside the box, the left-back played the ball into the danger zone at the first time of asking. His curling cross was headed towards goal by Bheke on the farpost, but his header cannoned off the crossbar.

Churchill made a substitution before the start of the second half as Omoma came on for Jakhanov in their midfield.

The first chance of the second period came in the 48th minute of the game. Apuia played a great ball into space on the right-wing that was controlled by  Chhangte. He tried finding Apuia with a return ball in the centre of the box but he skewed his shot and failed to get a clear connection on the ball as the chance went begging.

The next chance came in the 53rd minute for Churchill Brothers. A ball over the top behind the Islanders’ backline was controlled expertly by Martin Chaves, who carried the ball into the box. He tried getting his shot from a tight angle from the left side but it was comfortably held by Phurba, as the scores stayed at 1-1.

Despite dominating possession, Mumbai City were finding it hard to break down a resolute Churchill Brothers defence, who were making sure everyone was defending the goal.

Des Buckingham was forced into making his first change of the game in the 63rd minute of the game as Apuia picked up a knock due to a robust challenge by a Churchill player on the midfielder. Gurkirat came in for Apuia as the Islanders changed their shape as Chhangte took up the number 10 position.

In the 79th minute, Buckingham made his second change of the game as he brought off Bipin Singh and was replaced by young Ayush Chhikara. The English tactician was hoping an extra attacker will help his team take the lead in the game.  

The game trudged on as Churchill looked content with the draw while Mumbai City FC were desperately looking for the winner in the final 10 minutes of the game.

Mumbai City FC took the lead in added time at the end of the second-half in the 94th minute. Vikram Partap Singh’s trickery saw him fouled inside the box by Clement as a penalty was awarded to the Islanders. Chhangte stepped up to take the spot kick and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 2-1 in favour of the Islanders.

Placed second on the table, the Islanders take on NorthEast United in their next Group D game of the Hero Super Cup on Saturday at the Payyanad Stadium in Manjeri, with the game set to kick-off at 8:30pm IST.