East Bengal FC settled for a gripping 1-1 draw against Chennaiyin FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium this evening as the Marina Machans struck by coming from behind and securing a solitary point through an 86th minute goal by substitute Ninthoinganba Meetei.

As the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 action returned from international break, Owen Coyle and his men were dealt with an early blow as Ayush Adhikari found the back of his own net to get his team trailing in the 29th minute.

However, the home side rode on the crowd support to constantly knock the opposition’s door, as Rafael Crivellaro’s sharp creative vision blended brilliantly with Ninthoinganba’s accuracy in front of goal to ensure that they didn’t succumb to a second straight defeat at home.

Some newfound flair and fluency in East Bengal and their attacking moves have been prevalent since Carles Cuadrat took over the reins in the summer. He has helped them deliver encouraging results off late and a lot of it is down to the confidence brimming through their domestic contingent.

An excellent example of the same was evident on the field today, as Vishnu Puthiya Valappill made the most of a starting spot by moving ahead with pace and precision just a minute before the half-hour mark of the game. Vishnu sent in a low cross inside the box and Adhikari was unable to clear his lines properly, as he ended up slotting it past Debjit Majumder.

Coyle and his Chennaiyin outfit ensured control over the proceedings thereafter, recording greater possession (56%) and more shots on target (5 vs 2) than the visitors.

With two goals and assists each, Crivellaro has made an impact many times for Chennaiyin this season. He was again at the centre of it all with an accurate pass to Ninthoinganba on the right side of the 18-yard box in the 86th minute. The 22-year-old showed no qualms in putting the ball past Prabsukhan Singh Gill and salvaged a point for his side from this match. 

Key Performer of the Match

Rafael Crivellaro (Chennaiyin FC)

The Brazilian recorded an 83% passing accuracy, created five goal-scoring chances, made a couple of tackles and interceptions each, in addition to bagging the decisive assist that decided the fate of this contest.

What’s next for both teams?

Chennaiyin FC next square off against Kerala Blasters FC in Kochi on November 29. East Bengal FC will host NorthEast United FC for their forthcoming fixture on December 4.

Brief Scores

East Bengal FC 1 (Ayush Adhikari OG 29’) – 1 Chennaiyin FC (Ninthoinganba Meetei 86’)

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