Jeje Lalpheklua scored two goals, including a 90th-minute winner, as Chennaiyin FC beat ATK 3-2 in an exciting Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday night.
ATK’s star Robbie Keane made his much-awaited ISL debut. He entered in the 61st minute and orchestrated the team’s goals but could not finish on the winning side.
After a lacklustre first half, the home side triumphed after a flurry of goals in the last 25 minutes.
In a contest of fluctuating fortunes, Chennaiyin were 1-0 and 2-1 up before the final few minutes saw two strikes from either side with the home team coming up with the all- important goal in the 90th minute.
It was Jeje who did the trick for John Gregory’s men by calmly slotting home the winner. He had scored the game’s first goal in the 65th minute following some beautiful play by Chennaiyin. Jaime Gavilan took a short corner and immediately received the pass back from the far post. He swung his cross into the box where skipper Henrique Sereno jumped and headed towards the goal. The ball ricocheted off the inside of the post for Jeje to put it back into the empty net.
It was Jeje’s first goal of the season, validating coach Gregory’s faith in the striker – the latter, on the match’s eve, had said the Mizoram marksman would score soon.
ATK equalised with 12 minutes to go for the final whistle when Zequinha scored after a faulty clearance from skipper Sereno.
Inigo Calderon put Chennaiyin ahead in the 84th minute with an assist from Jerry Lalrinzuala and the match got more exciting.
Five minutes later, Njazi Kuqi slotted home a reverse ball from Keane, past Karanjit, much to the delight of the ATK bench including the coach Teddy Sheringham.
The joy was shortlived as Jeje fired home as the clock ticked over to the 90-minute mark.
The three points sent Chennaiyin to the top of the standings. They have nine points from four games, including three wins. On the other hand, ATK, who suffered their second loss, are the bottom of the points table.