Chennaiyin FC beat Bengaluru FC by 2-0 at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium to record a much-needed victory after a streak of three draws in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24.

Owen Coyle has a fond liking for Brazilian playmaker Rafael Crivellaro, and for a good reason. The 34-year-old is the architect of everything that the Marina Machans do right up front, from establishing offensive moves to chipping in with timely strikes.

Tonight, it was all Crivellaro as Chennaiyin FC completed a convincing victory against the Blues, who had parted ways with head coach Simon Grayson after their 4-0 loss at home last Friday. Former India international Renedy Singh was on the touchline as the interim at helm for the 2018-19 ISL champions, but a change at the top didn’t result in a change in the results, as the club would have hoped for after Grayson’s departure.

It started with Namgyl Bhutia handling the ball inside the 18-yard box in the sixth minute, and up stepped Crivellaro to take the spot-kick. The attacking midfielder hammered the ball to the top left corner, leaving Gurpreet Singh Sandhu little chance to keep the scores level.

However, Sandhu put up a show thereafter, making a host of saves including three important ones to deny the trio of Crivellaro, Jordan Murray, and Vincy Barretto any further strikes in the first half. In the 11th minute, the goalkeeper dived to thwart Crivellaro’s attempt, and he repeated those heroics in the 30th and 37th minutes respectively to take care of the shots taken by Murray and Barretto respectively.

Murray was operating wonderfully in tandem with Crivellaro, with his shot that nearly doubled the lead being set up by the latter. The duo did hit back in the 50th minute though, and this time Gurpreet couldn’t be the saviour for the visitors given that Murray got a chance to add to his goal-scoring tally by striking from the 12-yard box.

Crivellaro eased his way through the centre of the Bengaluru FC penalty box, and displayed some crafty trickery with his feet to earn a foul committed by Harsh Patre. This time, he let Murray do the honours, who didn’t miss the opportunity and sealed the game and secured those crucial three points for Coyle’s side.

Key Performer of the Match

Rafael Crivellaro (Chennaiyin FC)

Crivellaro scored the opener, earned the penalty for the second one, and he capped off the game with a 74% passing accuracy, making two crosses, and creating a couple of goal-scoring chances. He symbolised everything that Coyle stands for, dropping back to pitch in defensively whenever required, in addition to making the most of the openings that came in the way of the home side to help them catch hold of a critical victory against a struggling Bengaluru FC unit.

What’s next for both teams?

Chennaiyin FC will square off against Punjab FC on December 18, whereas Bengaluru FC will take on Jamshedpur FC on December 16.

Brief Scores

Chennaiyin FC 2 (Rafael Crivellaro 6’, Jordan Murray 50’) – 0 Bengaluru FC

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