Chennaiyin FC registered their first win of the 2017-18 Indian Super League season last Thursday night, with a 3-0 victory over NorthEast United at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Not only was their first victory a comfortable win buoyed by fantastic home support, it was their first victory over NorthEast at home and only the second time they have beaten their North-East rivals.
After admitting he got his formation and choice of players wrong in Chennaiyin’s opening match in which they were defeated 2-3 by Goa FC, coach Gregory John made four changes to the starting XI, handing starts to Gregory Nelson, Francis Fernandes, Bikramjiit Singh and Dhanpal Ganesh.
Chennaiyin started firing straight away taking an an early lead courtesy of a Abdul Hakku own goal in the 11th minute. Raphael Augusto cut inside from the left and upon seeing the space available kept moving forward and had a shot at the goal. Hakku, who looked to head it away, directed it straight past his keeper and into the goal.
The home team kept pushing to double their lead and it happened in the 24th minute after Bikramjit Singh started with a diagonal into Gregory Nelson who made a run behind the right-back into the box. Nelson looked to square it with his head, but it deflected off the defender into Raphael Augusto’s path and the Brazilian midfielder slotted it through the diving keeper and won man of the match for his effort.
Chennaiyin continued to grow in the second half and added to their goal tally in the 84th minute through substitute Mohammed Rafi who pounced on the chance after Jaime Gavilan’s free-kick had ricocheted off the goalpost.
Meanwhile Friday’s match between Kerala Blasters and Jamshedpur ended in a surprising goalless draw leaving the sides in 6th and 5th position of the ISL table respectively.