Two-time champion fails to hold on to an advantage against Blasters
Chennaiyin FC’s campaign in the seventh edition of the ISL came to a sedate end with the two-time champion settling for a 1-1 draw with Kerala Blasters at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim (Goa) on Sunday.
Chennaiyin finished with 20 points to remain eighth in the table, while Blasters, with a game in hand, is placed second from bottom, with 17 points.
Both the goals came in the first half.
After Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev put the former champion ahead, Gary Hooper equalised for Blasters from the penalty spot.
Off the blocks
The match got off to a frenetic start with the Chennai men storming towards the Blasters goal.
They created as many as four chances within the first three minutes.
Not surprisingly, it was an error from Blasters defender Bakary Kone that opened the door for the fierce attack from Chennaiyin.
He gave away the ball to Lallianzuala Chhangte, who would prove be too dangerous on the left wing even without such help.
But Blasters survived, though not for long. Fatkhulloev struck in the 10th minute, off an assist from Edwin Vanspaul.
The Tajikistan winger did well to beat Jessel Carneiro and drive the ball firmly past goalkeeper Albino Gomes.
Though Chennaiyin produced an early goal, as it has done many a time this season, it didn’t keep the advantage for long, just as often it has.
Hooper made it 1-1 in the 29th minute, off the kick awarded after Deepak Tangri handled the ball.
More end-to-end action followed and opportunities were for both the teams, but nothing came off them. Chennaiyin was reduced to 10 men for the last 11 minutes of normal time after Enes Sipovic picked up his second yellow card.
It has been that kind of a season for Chennaiyin.
Kerala Blasters 1 (Gary Hooper 29) drew with Chennaiyin FC 1 (Fatkhulo Fatkhulloev 10).
Bengaluru FC 1 (Wangjam 33) lost to FC Goa 2 (Angulo 20, Tlang 23).
Hyderabad FC vs ATK Mohun Bagan, 7.30 p.m.
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