The fans at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Thursday were brought to their feet twice in two minutes when Rafael Crivellaro and Nerijus Valskis scored stunning second-half goals to power Chennaiyin FC to a 2-0 victory over NorthEast United in match 60 of the 2019-20 Indian Super League.
It was a tale of two halves for the host, which made up for missing a host of easy chances in the first half with a brace in the second. From the goalkeepers having a busy outing to memorable goals, here's a look at the talking points from the nail-biting encounter.
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1) Second-half stunners too good for NorthEast
No goals were scored in an exciting first half laden with several chances and saves. However,it was only a matter of time before the goals came by.
In the 57th minute, Crivellaro saw NorthEast goalkeeper Subhasish Roy off his line and took a crack at goal from the centre line. The audacious effort paid dividends as the ball dipped in at the right time to beat a diving Roy and landed in the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Valskis made the most of a sloppy clearance from Heerings Kai as he rifled the ball back into the top left corner.
2) Miserable first half
Despite a total of 17 shots combined from both side, eight of which were on target, both side remained goalless at the break. The reason was some poor finishing. Both teams were presented with a host of chances but poor play in the final third meant the deadlock was intact.
Valskis had the best chance of the first half in the fifth minute when his tap-in from across the face of the goal managed to find the cross bar.
Andre Schembri was also guilty of squandering chances in the first half. In the 13th minute, he could not put away a low cross from Anirudh Thapa in the right wing. In the 37th minute, Schembri failed to head the ball home from five yards out from a Thapa corner.
3) Brave clean sheet for Vishal Kaith
The Chennaiyin custodian was in stellar form, registering his second clean sheet of the season. With six saves, eight punches and two clearances, the 23-year-old was a formidable force at the back.
In the 29th minute, Milan Singh was played to inside the box but his effort was parried away by the Himachal-born Kaith.
His best saves, however, arrived in the second half. Five minutes after resumption, NorthEast's Fredrico Gallego found Kaith off his line. He whipped the ball towards the goal deep from the right wing, but Kaith scurried across to make the save.
Three minutes later, debutant Andrew Keogh rifled a shot towards the bottom right corner of the goal. But the Chennaiyin keeper was up to the task as he got his fingertips to the ball and conceded a corner.
In the dying stages of the match, Kaith pulled off a top-drawer save to thwart Martin Chaves' free-kick.
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