Vafa Hakhamaneshi’s brilliant 69th minute header brought Chennaiyin FC back to winning ways as the visitors recorded a 1-0 win over host East Bengal in an Indian Super League encounter at the Salt Lake Stadium here on Friday.
Chennayin posted its second victory, while EB suffered its fourth defeat and second in a row to the disappointment of more than 17,000 fans.
Chennaiyin players showed good coordination and passing among themselves and applied pressure initially.
Its lanky forward Petar Sliskovic had an excellent opportunity when he took the ball on the left and shot from close range only to miss the target in the ninth minute.
East Bengal defended wholeheartedly before launching some fine counterattacks.
In the 21st minute, Suhair V. P. received a good ball and took it forward into the Chennaiyin box only to shoot marginally wide.
Chennaiyin initiated some attacks, with Sliskovic and Anirudh Thapa threatening the EB post, but could not breach the EB defence.
Cleiton had another chance when he dispossessed a defender and went into the penalty box but missed the target in the 36th minute.
In the drama-filled second half, Chennaiyin stepped up its attack and got a bunch of corners. It got the breakthrough when the tall Vafa moved well to head one into the bottom right corner of the EB netting.
Ironically, the defender got a second yellow card for improper celebration and was sent off in the next minute.
When EB nurtured some hopes of revival, it received a setback as Sarthak Golui was served a second yellow for a foul resulting in a red in the 74th minute. Both teams were now on parity in terms of the number of men on the field.
Chennaiyin maintained its good grip over the contest to secure a narrow win.