Chennaiyin stumble to consecutive losses

With both teams on 10 points and just outside the play-off positions, it was a match neither could afford to drop points from. And with that in mind, Chennaiyin got off to a flying start with Thoi Singh and Stiven Mendoza combining on the right flank in the third minute. The Colombian’s drag-back across the box unfortunately didn’t find any teammate.

Diomansy Mehdi Moustapha Kamara scoring the first goal for NorthEast United .   -  R. Ragu

Chennaiyin FC’s ISL campaign has nose-dived once again. They slumped to their second loss in a row, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of NorthEast United FC, here at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Wednesday.

With both teams on 10 points and just outside the play-off positions, it was a match neither could afford to drop points from. And with that in mind, Chennaiyin got off to a flying start with Thoi Singh and Stiven Mendoza combining on the right flank in the third minute. The Colombian’s drag-back across the box unfortunately didn’t find any teammate.

And across the run of play, just after the first few minutes, the clouds opened up sending sharp showers down on the stadium. The heavy rain affected visibility but the players carried on. Chennaiyin took the game to the visitors, having the lion’s share of the possession. The troika of Thoi Singh, Mendoza and Elano were the thorn in NorthEast’s flesh, with the vistors just about thwarting their never-ending attacks.

However, just after the 26-minute mark, the referees stopped play due to the weather conditions.

Play resumed after 55 minutes and the hosts started from where they left off. Chennaiyin’s persistence finally paid off in the 33rd minute and it was Elano once again who came to the party. Elano latched on to Andre Bikey’s clearance, which fell kindly to the Brazilian’s feet. His left-foot volley found the bottom left corner of the net, leaving no chance for Rehenesh.

This prodded them to life as the visitors started attacking with more purpose in search of the equaliser. After coming close a couple of times, NorthEast’s Diomansy Kamara restored parity in the 44th minute. Bruno Arias, from the right, floated the ball towards the far post in search of Kamara’s head. The French forward headed it straight at the keeper. However, Edel Apoula could only punch it back to Kamara, who gladly put the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range.

Revitalised by the goal, the visitors started to get a grip on the game. In the 51st minute, Seityasen made a darting run towards the box and after going past two players had only the keeper to beat. However his strike lacked any real power and Edel made a comfortable save, diving to the left.

Despite the rain things started to heat up between the two sets of players. There was some pushing and shoving after every other foul, and the game threatened to descend into the chaos, which was witnessed in the earlier fixture. In the 53rd minute, Thoi Singh went down in the box owing to a Carlos Lopez tackle, much to the displeasure of the visitors. The referee had to calm things down as the players went at each other.

Once things settled down, the hosts started to up the ante. They had the majority of the chances in the first 15 minutes of the second period. However, NorthEast stole the game from Chennaiyin in the 72nd minute. Silas, who had just come on for skipper Simao 60 seconds earlier, amazingly scored in what was his first contribution to the game.

The Portuguese midfielder rifled past Edel from six yards out after his wonderful first-touch set himself for the goal. With the hosts now chasing the game, they made attacking changes, especially in the form of Fikru.

However, the Ethiopian couldn’t deliver the goods as Chennaiyin slumped to another defeat to NorthEast making it that much harder for the side to make it to the play-offs.

With this result, Chennaiyin are now seventh in the table with 10 points while the winners leapfrog to fifth with 13 points.

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