Chennaiyin FC went 2-0 down before staging a second-half comeback against Jamshedpur FC to seal a 2-2 draw at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Saturday. In the second match of the day, Odisha FC beat East Bengal to move to fifth place in the Indian Super League table.
In a game where a win would have put them one point off the final playoff spot, Chennaiyin FC were kept at bay by the home side despite dominating possession and creating more chances, and had to ultimately settle for a point.
Jamshedpur FC took the lead in the 17th minute thanks to a finely worked team goal. Rafael Crivellaro played a give-and-go with Daniel Chukwu before threading a fine through ball onto the path of Ritwik Das, whose shot crawled past Samik Mitra.
Chennaiyin FC had 59% possession in the first-half, and were a bit unfortunate not to get a goal, with two shots hitting the woodwork.
Das got his second of the night in the 57th minute with a brilliant individual effort. Once again, the goal came against the run of play. Das received the ball on the left wing, went on the outside before cutting back in, and curled the ball into the top corner. There was a clinical edge to Jamshedpur FC’s performance.
Vincy Barretto, who had looked quite lively all game, got one back for Chennaiyin FC in the 60th minute with a calmly placed bottom-corner finish. It wasn’t the cleanest of sequences – there was a deflection and ricochet in the lead-up to the goal before the ball found its way to Barretto.
Chennaiyin FC levelled the scores in the 68th minute. Aakash Sangwan played a great cross from the left wing once again, and Petar Sliskovic got ahead of his man to slot the ball home with a deflected effort. There was no grand finish, however. Both sides had a few half chances before the final whistle was blown but had to ultimately settle for a 2-2 draw.
Diego Mauricio nets brace
Diego Mauricio continued his fine form, bagging his second brace for Odisha FC in as many games as they put an end to their four-game winless streak. Odisha FC fell behind early in the first half at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, but gave their home support much to cheer about as they outscored East Bengal FC for the remainder of the game.
Cleiton Silva, who is now the leading goalscorer of the season, put East Bengal FC in front in the 10th minute after capitalising on Odisha FC goalkeeper Amrinder Singh’s mistake. Alex Lima played a lofted pass over the defence on the right side, and Amrinder rushed out indecisively to find himself stranded. Silva showed no hesitation in chipping the ball from a tight angle and put the visitors in front.
But the hosts didn’t have to wait for too long after that, with Raynier Fernandes whipping a cross into the six-yard box from a corner and finding no resistance from the East Bengal FC. He found Mauricio a few yards in front of the goalkeeper, and the striker stuck his right foot out to score.
On either side of the half-time whistle, Odisha FC then found the goals to put the fixture to bed. The first of those was a fortuitous one for Nandhakumar Sekar, who was looking to cross the ball in from the left and ended up slicing it with his left foot. The ball kept going in its original path and eventually cleared East Bengal FC goalkeeper Suvam Sen to land in the back of the net.
Not long after the second half began, Mauricio picked up a second goal. Fernandes was the provider for him once again, pushing forward from the right side of central midfield before slipping it into the channel for Mauricio on the right side of the box. The striker picked up the ball, kept his composure with the lack of a press from the defence, and managed to dink the ball into the near post past Sen’s left shoulder.
Chennaiyin FC are in seventh place with 15 points, four points behind the final playoff spot. They will face Hyderbad FC at the G.M.C. Balayogi Athletic Stadium on January 12 to try and keep their playoff hopes alive. Jamshedpur FC will go to the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan in Kolkata to face East Bengal FC on January 13.
Odisha FC will travel to Bengaluru on January 14 while East Bengal FC stay in ninth place with a game in hand over Bengaluru FC, and return home on January 13 to host Jamshedpur FC.