The main draw of the Super Cup 2018 kicked off at the Kalinga Sports Complex in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa as reigning Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC took on last season's I-League champions Aizawl FC.
The game began well for Aizawl FC as they controlled the tempo in the midfield with Alfred Jaryan and Ionescu running things for the Mizo side. Ionescu opened the scoring in the 22nd minute of the match with a deflected goal that beat Karanjit Singh. Chennaiyin FC kept on pressuring the Aizawl FC defence exerting their authority with prolonged ball possession and equalized late in the match with a Mailson Alves strike.
The extra time began on a promising note for Aizawl FC as Andrei Ionescu scored his second goal of the match in the first attacking move. However, Chennaiyin never gave up and got on equal terms again when Dhanachandra Singh's low shot from outside the box sneaked past the Aizawl FC keeper to force the match into the penalty shootout.
Aizawl FC triumphed over the ISL champions in the penalty kicks with five successful kicks as Mohd. Rafi missed his kick. Aizawl FC's Lalmuan Kima scored the final penalty with a 'Panenka' to seal their progress to the quarterfinals.
#1 Andrei Ionescu opens the scoring for Aizawl FC
Chennaiyin FC were dealt a major surprise as the I-League side began on the front foot and dominated the initial proceedings on the pitch.
The Indian Super League champions were not given much space or time on the ball as the Mizoram club worked hard in the middle of the park. Alfred Jaryan and Andrei Ionescu controlled the game in the centre with their passing and tracking back in the midfield.
Their persistence paid off finally in the 22nd minute as Ionescu beat the helpless Karanjit Singh in the Chennaiyin goal after a deflection from an outside the box effort. The Romanian midfielder's optimistic shot paid dividends as the Chennaiyin keeper was caught unaware by the deflection off Chennai defender.
#2 Chennaiyin FC recover well towards the end of the first half
Chennaiyin FC were made to work hard by the Aizawl FC side who dominated much of the proceedings in the first half. Ionescu's goal put the Mizoram side in the lead in the 22nd minute.
The goal sparked Chennaiyin FC into a resurgent mode and they slowly began to crawl their way back into the game. They kept the possession of the ball with Jaime Gavilan controlling the play from the centre with Anirudh Thapa moving across the box. The young Indian had a good chance towards the end of the half to put the ISL Champions on level terms but his effort was saved well by the Aizawl FC keeper Arup Debnath.
#3 Chennaiyin FC equalize at the death through Mailson Alves
Just when it looked like Aizawl FC will hold on to close out the game with the scoreline at 1-0, Chennaiyin FC struck late to dash their hopes.
Mailson Alves, the Indian Super League final hero for the Supermachans got the all-important equalizer in the match after a scramble inside the box in the 89th minute. Across from the left was not dealt with well by Arup in the Aizawl and the ball looped towards Thoi Singh who got a free header. The winger headed it onto the post and the ball rebounded to Mailson who was lurking near the penalty spot and the Brazilian did no mistake in hammering the ball into the open net to make the scores level.
Alves' goal set the match up for an exciting showdown forcing the game into the extra time of 30 minutes to decide the winner.
#4 Ionescu strikes quickly into the extra time but Chennaiyin FC come back again
Aizawl FC began the first half of the extra time with a bang as they went into the lead inside the first minute with a swift move from the kick-off.
It was the Romanian midfielder Andrei Ionescu again who was on target as he dribbled past four Chennaiyin players after receiving the ball. He slotted his finish over the rushing Karanjit Singh lifting the ball just enough to beat the keeper.
Chennaiyin FC were hit with an unexpected counter by the Aizawl side early in the extra time but they did not lose hope and kept on pressing. They were rewarded in the second half of the extra time period when a low hard shot from central defender Dhanachandra Singh got past everyone and made it 2-2 paving the way for a penalty shootout.
#5 Aizawl FC hold their nerves to win the penalty shootout
Dhanachandra Singh's goal in the second half of the extra time forced the match to be decided by the dreaded penalty shootout.
Aizawl FC came through in the decider as they scored all their kicks from the spot as they won 5-3 in the shootout. Chennaiyin FC's Mohammed Rafi missed his penalty when he skied his effort to the right side of the goal, setting the stage up for Aizawl FC to grab the win. Lalmuan Kima scored the final kick with a delightfully taken 'Panenka' to outsmart the Chennaiyin keeper Karanjit Singh and seal the win for the I-League club.