AFC Cup: Chennai City salvages 2-2 draw with Maziya

Spaniard Adolfo Araujo Fito's brace powered Chennai City FC to a 2-2 draw with Maziya S&RC in their AFC Cup group stage clash on Wednesday.

Adolfo Araujo Fito

Adolfo Araujo Fito celebrates scoring for Chennai City during the 2-2 draw with Maziya in the AFC Cup group stage clash on Wednesday.   -  M. Vedhan

Chennai City FC's AFC Cup campaign began with a 2-2 draw with Maziya Sports and Recreation Club at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.

Maziya showed its intent right from kickoff as striker Cornelius Ezekiel's shot was tipped over the bar with less than thirty seconds on the clock.

Once the early nerves settled, Chennai City began imposing itself on the game. It kept most of the ball and controlled the pace.

The I-League side made the breakthrough in the 11th minute when Ajith Kumar found Adolfo Araujo Fito in the box. The Spaniard dropped his shoulder, got past a defender and unleashed a left-foot shot that had enough power to sneak in at the near post off the goalkeeper's thigh.

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While the next three shots came from the visiting side, it was largely forced to rely on long rage efforts – with two of them on-target but easy pickings for the home side's 'keeper Nauzet Garcia Santana.

Maziya

Maziya's Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain celebrates equalising for his side.   -  M. Vedhan

Chennai City's preference of playing it from the back rather than going long almost cost it in the 33rd minute. With no one to pass forward to, skipper Roberto Eslava Suarez played the ball back to Santana – who was off his line and well wide of the pass. The ball bounced off the post and Santana managed to clear it before Cornelius could get to the rebound.

Maziya's best chance of the first half came via a freekick from the edge of the box when Mohammad Sharif's effort sailed just over the bar with six minutes left.

The second half saw a more composed Maziya side take to the field. Despite having less than 40 percent of possession, it made the most of its chances.

Two minutes after the restart, Hamza Mohamed shot wide from the same spot Fito gave Chennai City the lead. If that was a warning shot, the home side did not take caution and the game turned on its head in the space of three minutes.

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Unmarked for a freekick, Mohamed Irufaan connected well with Hamza Mohamed's delivery and his header nestled into the bottom corner to restore parity.

The visiting side, buoyed by the goal, went on to up the ante. Hamza won the ball in the middle of the pitch and evaded a couple of challenges before finding Hussain Nihan with a through ball. The midfielder cut back to an unmarked Ibrahim Mahudhee Hussain and the forward made no mistake with just the 'keeper to beat.

Adolfo Araujo Fito

Adolfo Araujo Fito's second strike of the evening sealed a draw for Chennai City FC.   -  M. Vedhan

 

However, Chennai City was able to seal a draw in the dying embers of the game. With less than a minute left in regulation time, Charles Anandraj's snapshot was spilt by Hussain Shareef and Fito was present to slot home the rebound and bag his second goal of the evening.

THE RESULT: Chennai City 2 – 2 Maziya S&RC (Fito 11', 90'; Irufaan 64', Ibrahim 67')

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