ISL: Succi helps Chennaiyn FC end NEUFC jinx

Italian striker Davide Succi scored the only goal of the game to help Chennaiyin FC to an away win against NorthEast United FC and end its winless streak against the Highlanders.

Eli Sabia of Chennaiyin FC and Emiliano Alfaro of NorthEast United FC fight for ball at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati.   -  ISL

Davide Succi scored a spectacular volley to help Chennaiyin FC to a 1-0 win over NorthEast United FC and end the winless record against the latter, in an Indian Super League match at the Indira Gandhi Stadium on Thursday. Coming up with a fine balance in attack and defence, the defending champion picked up its second consecutive win and moved into the third position in the league standings.

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The match came alive in the second half when Chennaiyin FC broke the deadlock early after a rather insipid opening session. Succi’s brilliant finishing in the 49th minute set the tone for the rest of the match as the host went into the attack mode in search of the equaliser. Making his fourth consecutive appearance for CFC, the Italian striker showed the right ability to convert opportunities as he made the perfect connection on a low floater from Siam Hangal to surprise Subrata Paul in the NorthEast United FC goal.

Chennaiyin FC coach Materazzi, keeping up with his rotation policy, made three changes bringing in Italian Maurizio Peluso, Indian Hangal and Frenchman Bernard Mendy in place of Jayesh Rane, Manuele Blassi and the Norwegian marquee player John Arne Riise, in the starting eleven. Of the three, Peluso and Hangal started for the first time this season.

The host, going by coach Vingada’s philosophy kept the change to a minimum, bringing in Nirmal Chettri for Reagan Singh as the right-back.

Mendy, clearly one of the most articulate and confident defenders in the league, showed his merit in the way he almost singlehandedly blunted the host’s attacks policing out the lone striker of NEUFC, Uruguayan Emiliano Alfaro, to a point of submission. Mendy’s goal-saving tackle on Alfaro, for which the home team clamoured for a penalty, clearly determined that the visitor walked away with the full quota of points.

Chennayin showed that it pays more in having a direct approach as the visitor made timely interceptions and worked up lateral moves down the flanks to open up the opponent defence on more occasion than once.

There was not much of creative play in the opening half as both sides preferred to be watchful while focusing on organising the defence. Most of the action thus revolved around set-piece situations where Chennaiyin had one clear opportunity. Earning a free-kick at around 35 yards in the 28th minute, Peluso produced a booming shot that defeated the NEUFC wall but found the opponent custodian Subrata Paul in position to punch the ball out of play.

Peluso continued to bother the NEUFC defence as he came next with a powerful angular shot from left that Paul managed to fist out again with a valiant effort. The opening half did not see a clear attempt from the host though it produced a more organised game, playing a lot more passes to have a greater edge in ball possession.

The host had a couple of scoring chances in the final quarter of the action but good defending by the visitor, especially by the CFC custodian Karanjit Singh and left-back Jerry Lalrinzuala, ensured that the scoreline remained in the latter’s favour. Chennaiyin tallied seven points from four matches while NEUFC continued on top with 10 points from six matches.

Result: NorthEast United FC 0 lost to Chennaiyin FC 1 (Davide Succi 49).

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