Chennai City bows out of AFC Champions League with loss to Al Riffa

Chennai City went down fighting 0-1 to Bahrain-based club Al Riffa SC in a preliminary round qualifier to bow out of the AFC Champions League 2020.

Playing in the I-League, Chennai City is fifth on the points table.   -  Twitter/@ChennaiCityFC

Chennai City went down fighting 0-1 to Bahrain-based club Al Riffa SC in a preliminary round qualifier to bow out of the AFC Champions League 2020 here on Tuesday.

Mahdi Abd Al Jabar (41st minute) scored the match’s only goal at the TransStadia stadium.

Significantly weakened by the loss of star striker Pedro Manzi early this month, I-League champion Chennai City had its task cut out.

With Riffa always on the lookout for goals, Chennai City was pushed onto the backfoot at the start.

Chennai struggled to create clear-cut chances for most of the first half, with new signing Fito aiming at the post with long-range efforts.

The Bahraini Premier League defending champion broke the deadlock in the 41st minute after a good build-up. Habeen Haroun received the ball outside the box and managed to slid in a through-ball into the box for Mahdi Al Jabar, who slotted the ball past Chennai goalkeeper Nauzet Santana with his right foot.

The second half was livelier than the first, with both teams creating quite a few chances. Chennai City came close to equalising when Jishnu Balakrishnan found Syed Suhail Pasha inside the box but the striker failed to convert.

Up against one of the most successful clubs in Bahrain, which has won the domestic top league 12 times, Chennai City tried but could not avoid a defeat.

Lament finishing cost Chennai City, says coach

After the loss, coach Akbar Nawas said the Tamil Nadu-based side should have found the net given the number of chances. "We did well in this game. We could've nicked it at the end. For the chances we created, we should have scored," he said.

Further, he added, "The whole team did well. We showed a lot of character, and we were just unlucky because of lament finishing in the final third.

"The performance was good enough, and who knows this team could do something this year."

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