Chennai City regained the top spot on the I-League table defeating Indian Arrows by two goals on Friday at the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
The visitors drew first blood in the 71st minute through Spanish midfielder Sandro’s free-kick and concluded their game with another goal from substitute Vijay N during injury time.
Akbar Nawas’ team, as expected, started the game on an attacking note, in their effort to bag the three points. However, the Arrows, denied the visitors any clear chance. Chennai City, who attacked mostly from the right flank, came close to scoring twice in the first half.
A header from Chennai City’s Manzi, that was called off-side, was saved by Arrows keeper Samik Mitra. A second opportunity came the visitors’ way when a confusion within the Arrows area led to Jitendra almost heading in an own goal, but thanks to an alert Mitra, the hosts did not concede.
Seconds later, Chennai City came close with another opportunity to score from a corner kick but Mitra denied the dominant visitors the time and space take the lead, thereby wrapping up a goal-less first half.
Chennai City kick-started their second half on an attacking note, looking desperately for a lead. They kept attacking at regular intervals but were unable to find a way to the back of the net beating the rock-solid defensive wall of the Indian Arrows.
A large part of the credit for a valiant show for Arrows should also go to their goal-keeper Mitra, who stood tall enough to deny the Chennai City FC any opportunity to capitalise on errors. As the game entered the final quarter, Chennai City visibly grew frustrated with their inability to break into the Arrows defensive line.
Their efforts finally paid dividends when a tackle in the 71st minute from Indian Arrows from the edge of the box, led to a yellow card for Suresh Singh, gifting the visitors a free kick from a dangerous spot. Chennai’s Spanish midfielder Sandro R made no mistakes thereafter, as he seized the opportunity, ensuring that this time the ball sailed into the goal.
The game thereafter, changed gears a bit with Chennai City going into a defensive mode, while Arrows tried hard to attack but to no success. Chennai City kept attacking at regular intervals and they again found success in the first minute of the added time when substitute Vijay N scored the second goal for the visitors on a rebound to finally seal the three points.