Chennaiyin FC broke their Guwahati jinx with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over NorthEast United FC in an absorbing Hero Indian Super League clash at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium on Thursday.
Before this game, Chennaiyin FC were the only team to neither score a goal in Guwahati nor secure a point at Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium during the previous seasons of the ISL. Chennaiyin FC had also never defeated NorthEast United in their four attempts out of which they lost three. The defending champions, however, made everyone sit up and take notice with just one magical moment. It was provided by Davide Succi whose 49th minute winner was the difference between the two sides.
The win helped Chennaiyin FC jump to third place on the points table with seven points from four matches. Despite the loss on Thursday, NorthEast United are still perched at the top of the table. However, the gap could be narrowed now if Mumbai City FC, Delhi Dynamos and Atletico de Kolkata win their next round match.
Chennaiyin FC had their Italian striker Succi to thank for winning them all the three points. After a barren first session where Chennaiyin held the upper hand and created better chances, the Italian struck a magical winner in the 49th minute. A cross from Siam Hangal seemed like any other delivery inside the box but what followed left everyone dazed as Succi connected with a first-time side volley. The ball flew like a rocket and goalkeeper Subrata Paul could do nothing despite getting his hand to the ball.
Prior to kick-off, coach Marco Materazzi’s decision to leave marquee player John Arne Riise on the bench was the major talking point. Bernard Mendy returned at the back to captain the side and he never made anyone feel Riise’s absence with a Hero of the Match performance. His fine tackle to deny Emiliano Alfaro inside the danger zone was the best moment of the night.
NorthEast United FC lost their first match at home after winning the first two. Described by many as one of the best teams in the league, Nelo Vingada’s side couldn’t dictate terms during most part of the game, and even though they had their chances to take something out of the match, striker Emiliano Alfaro lacked the cutting edge upfront.
Chennaiyin FC had a couple of chances to open the account in the first 45 minutes. Hans Mulder missed a header from close range and Maurizio Peluso got the best out of goalkeeper Paul with a curling effort from just outside the box.