Chennaiyin FC appeared out of sorts but took its chance by scoring a penalty through Vladimir Koman to eke out a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC in their inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Bambolim Stadium, Goa on Tuesday.
Hitesh Sharma chested a high ball and Chennaiyin’s captain Anirudh Thapa, who got the ball, was fouled by the former inside the box. Koman, a 32-year-old veteran, who has played in Asia and Europe, didn’t falter under pressure to put Chennaiyin in the lead in the 66th minute.
AS IT HAPPENED
Chennaiyin’s four-man defense stayed strong even as its midfield and forward-line bungled at various stages of the match.
Struggling for a shot at target, Chennaiyin almost found the back of the net in the 56th minute when Lallianzuala Chhangte’s quick run from the right saw his left-footed shot being tipped away by ‘keeper Laxmikant Kattimani.
The start of the second half saw Hyderabad press hard as it did in the first, but after the goal, it was Chennaiyin that fared better.
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In a desperate bid to equalise, Hyderabad’s head coach Manolo Marquez made four substitutions in a matter of two minutes but nothing went right for the side.
It was Hyderabad which had more share of ball possession and clearer sense of purpose in the first session, unlike Chennaiyin which didn’t show any intent and had no proper shots at the target. Moreover, ‘keeper Vishal Kaith appeared indecisive resulting in some nervous moments.
Bartholomew Ogbeche made a menace of himself inside the box while Edu Garcia made some incisive passes. The best chance for Hyderabad came when Nikhil Poojary did a wonderful turn to unleash a shot that zoomed past the crossbar.
Despite the win, Chennaiyin’s head coach Bozidar Bandovic certainly needs to rework his combination when it takes on NorthEast United on November 29.