ISL: Chennaiyin draws with NorthEast, to face FC Goa in play-offs

Its draw against NorthEast leaves Chennaiyin FC fourth in the points table, which means it will face FC Goa in the playoffs of the Indian Super League.

Chhangte ensured he dented the hopes of a three-point haul for the host with his late strike - both teams settling for a point each at the end.   -  ISL Media

A late equaliser from Lallianzuala Chhangte against his former side helped Chennaiyin FC restrict NorthEast United to a 2-2 draw in the last game of the league stage of the Indian Super League in Guwahati on Tuesday. 

Masih Saighani fired Chennaiyin into the lead (17') before two goals in either half by Martin Chaves (43', 71') seemed to have handed all three points for NorthEast United. Chhangte, however, ensured he dented those hopes for the host with his late strike, with both teams settling for a point each. 

NorthEast finished its season inthe ninth place with 14 points. Chennaiyin, on the other hand, now finishes fourth with 29 points and will take on FC Goa in the play-offs. The other semifinal will feature Bengaluru FC and ATK. 

Highlights |  ISL: Last minte Chhangte goal sees ten-man Chennaiyin FC draw with NorthEast United

The dead rubber that was inconsequential to the fortunes of both sides saw both teams making big changes in their respective starting XIs, with 19 Indian players coming out to play. Masih Saighani was the only overseas player for Chennaiyin FC while Martin Chaves and Jose Leudo played for NorthEast.

The game started out slow, with scrappy opening exchanges. Ninthoinganba Meetei got the first chance but an alert Deepak Tangri thwarted his effort on goal. 

Saighani put Chennaiyin ahead in the 17th minute after NorthEast failed to clear a throw-in into the box. The Afghan reacted quickly to lash a left-footed shot on goal which could not be kept out by Sanjiban Ghosh in the NorthEast goal. There were a few chances post that as well before the half-time whistle with Anirudh Thapa doing well to make room to shoot inside the box. However, Leudo blocked it away for a corner. 



Chennaiyin was reduced to 10 men when Tondonba Singh brought down Meetei in the penalty box, after the attacker took a brilliant cross-field from Leudo and tried to make something of it. Singh was shown the red card and Chaves duly converted the spotkick, helping the host equalise. 

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Chennaiyin started the second half on the backfoot, but NorthEast was patchy in the final third. In the 71st minute, Chaves struck again, finding help from Nim Dorjee at the edge of the box. His volley gave the Highlanders the lead again. 

However, there was a late twist in the tale as substitute Chhangte scored the equaliser for Chennaiyin in injury time with a smart shot from the edge of the box.

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