Sports

Chennaiyin FC seal ISL play-offs spot

Chennaiyin FC seal ISL play-offs spot
Players of Mumbai City FC and Chennaiyin FC fight for the ball during their ISL match at the Mumbai Football Arena on Friday.
Mumbai, Feb 21 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 2/21/2020 10:06:50 AM IST

Lucian Goian's strike helped Chennaiyin FC beat Mumbai City FC 1-0 and qualify for the playoffs in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2019-20 season on Friday at the Mumbai Football Arena.

The former Mumbai City defender scored in the 83rd minute to ensure Chennaiyin FC's berth in the play-offs.

Jorge Costa began with two changes to the team that was trounced by FC Goa. Bipin and Bidyananda Singh were dropped in favour of Amine Chermiti and Sourav Das respectively. The formation remained 4-2-3-1.

A terse 15 minutes signalled the opening of the game with Chennaiyin dominating possession. Lallianzuala Chhangte blazed over a shot from the left-hand side before Mumbai City cranked up the pressure. 

First, Rafique's optimistic drive was deflected just wide by Jerry Lalrinzuala 20 yards from goal. Then, from almost the same spot, Diego Carlos was teed up by Mohammed Larbi three minutes later. The Brazilian ripped a low drive which was just parried back into play by Kaith. Luckily for the Chennaiyin shot-stopper, the ball fell past an onrushing Mumbai City attacker as Laldinliana Ralte cleared away. 

Chennaiyin had a narrow brush at the other end as a well-drifted corner wasn't cleared at all. Kaith however, pounced to end all hope Diego Carlos had of shunting it into the back of the net.

Mumbai City seemed pumped after the half-time interval and had the first real opportunity of the half. 

Diego Carlos fizzed in a free-kick, won by Moudou Sougou. However, Sougou was unable to get the deciding touch, with his header drifting out for a goal kick. 

The game spun around on its head in the two minutes that followed. Firstly, Amine Chermiti, sent through on goal by a brilliant ball from midfield, was fouled by Vishal Kaith right on the edge of the box. 

Interpretation of the rule seemed to suggest that the Chennayin number one should've been sent off. Yet, the keeper was only shown a yellow, despite Mumbai protesting for the red. 

Chennaiyin then broke clear with Chhangte who rushed through on goal with only Amrinder Singh to beat. However, the Chennayin winger was tripped by Sourav Das and the Mumbai midfielder was sent off. 

Chennaiyin finally took the lead in the 83rd minute. Lucian Goian remained unmarked as a corner from the right swung in. With Mumbai City failing to clear, the defender tucked in a shot past Amrinder to seal the deal for the away side.

As the referee blew his full-time whistle, the Islanders bid adieu to their own titanic bid of making the ISL semi-finals and it was sunk by the Marina Machchans.

 

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