Chennaiyin FC and Odisha FC played out a 0-0 stalemate in the 53rd match of the 2020-21 Indian Super League (ISL) at the GMC Bambolim Stadium in Goa. Chennaiyin FC had quite a few chances to score in either half but clinical finishing continued to desert the two-time ISL champions.
Chennaiyin FC could have had the best possible start as a long ball completely tore apart Odisha FC’s defense. Forward Jakub Sylvestr left the ball knowing that he was off-side and Rahim Ali made a sprint for it. The former India U-17 player had acres of space but he took too many touches and this allowed Arshdeep Singh to collect the ball.
At the other end, Odisha FC got a couple of decent chances but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside on both occasions. Chennaiyin FC regained the upper hand once again when Eli Sabia headed over Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev’s free-kick after Lallianzuala Chhangte struck the side netting.
The game picked up the pace during the final few minutes of the first half as Diego Mauricio headed the ball into the net after Cole Alexander found him with a superb long ball. Three minutes later, Sylvestr made a pass to Rahim Ali but the latter was denied by a good save from Arshdeep. Soon, Reagan Singh sent in a low cross but Sylvestr’s flicked attempt at goal was saved by the Odisha FC custodian.
Just like it happened in the previous half, Lallianzuala Chhangte got the better of Steven Taylor but the Mizo winger only struck the side netting once again. State-mate Jerry Mawihmingthanga then started to trouble Chennaiyin FC. Jerry made a superb run to the byline but he couldn’t keep the ball in play. The game got scrappy after that as both teams struggled to find the perfect ball in the final third.
After the cooling break and a few substitutions from both teams, Odisha FC almost found themselves trailing due to an error from skipper Steven Taylor. His failed clearance let Rahim Ali through on goal but Chennaiyin FC were unlucky to be denied by the woodwork. Chennaiyin FC then came up with a counter-attack after Vishal Kaith released Chhangte but substitute Esmael Goncalves’ poor first touch saw the chance slip away.
The Kalinga Warriors looked to nick a goal in the dying stages of the match but Chennaiyin FC’s defense stood strong. Both sides thus had to be satisfied with a solitary point in the first match of the Sunday doubleheader.
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Lallianzuala Chhangte was named the ‘Hero of the Match’ for his work-rate throughout the 90 minutes. Unlike the previous matches in this season, Chhangte didn’t fluff clear-cut chances to hold back Chennaiyin FC.
Chhangte kept the Odisha FC right-back Jacob Tratt on his toes with his dribbling and rapid acceleration. The 23-year-old also switched flanks with Fatkhullo Fatkhulloev and came up with a shot or two to test Arshdeep Singh. The left-winger will hope that he can convert some of his off-target shots to goals in the remaining matches.Published 11 Jan 2021, 00:15 IST