A ROBUST VICTORY by 3-1 margin for Federation Cup debutants Chennai City FC drag down Churchill Brothers with themselves, ensuring none of them would qualify for the semi-finals.
Chennai City the first team to be knocked out of the Federation Cup. Churchill needed to win by a huge margin and hope that Aizawl beat East Bengal in the fixture to follow to be able to make it to the semi-final.
In the opening minutes Charles almost snatched the ball from Rowilson's headed pass to Naveen but ended fouling the keeper and Churchill survived the early scare. The next attack was from Churchill when Brandon rushed forward with the ball, Chennai tracked back and had all passing options marked so Brandon went to shoot and does so but it was an easy save for the keeper.
Ganesh holds the ball in the aim to release to forward but no support arrives and he loses the ball. He is frustrated with the lack of support. In the 17th minute, Ganesh was released into the free space in the box towards the right side. He was not closed down and Ganesh aims the far post and manages to beat Naveen to give Chennai the lead.
In the 21nd minute, Charles plays a square low ball in the box and it hits Naveen. Churchill carry the rebounded ball away from danger. Kromah plays a splitting pass to Brandon into space in the box but Brandon had not anticipated that ball did not chase it.
Close To the half hour mark, Bektur was brought down as he made his way into the box. Free kick given to Churchill 20-25 yards from goal. Brandon territory, he stepped in and curled it over the wall and hit the crossbar. The keeper was beaten. After the water break, Churchill had stepped up the attacks.
Kromah was more active in the box. Churchill suffered a blow as Adil khan had to subbed and Derick used this substitution to bring on Pankaj Sona to change the formation to attacking with a three man defence.
Pankaj's first contribution was to attack the long forward ball played in the box and made Shaheen work to deny the substitute access to the ball. Ganesh needed to look for passing options but unable to find any goes for goal with a left footed strike. The shot was on target and needed a full stretched save and concede the corner.
5 minutes to half time, Edwin was played in perfectly behind the defence and into the box. Edwin swings his leg first time and the keeper was well positioned to save the attempt. The half time ended Chennai leading the game by Dhanpal Ganesh's solitary goal.
The second half began with Churchill seeing more of the ball. The attack came down the left when Seriton released Brandon on the left. He crosses and Chennai clear in a hurried manner.
Kormah was played in superbly as the through ball beat the defence but just as he was about to shoot, the offside flag went up. In another chance in the opening 5 minutes of the second half saw Kromah and Pankaj come in each other's way as both tried to get the shot away inside the box.
In a brilliant individual play by Brandon saw him create space in the box and he had three team mates were waiting in the box to tap in but Brandon goes for goal only to hit the side netting. All of a sudden, Chennai were in the attack with Edwin the lone Chennai player in the Churchill box. He had two defenders close to him and he chooses to goal for goal with a low shot and surprising everyone probably himself too to find the back of the net just past the one hour mark.
Kromah was not in the best position as a cross was sent in with some power in front of goal. Derick brought on Miranda and Gabriel as his second and last substitution to get some goals in the last hour of the game. Pankaj with an effort from the left side of the box as his attempt was between a cross and a try on goal.
Corner to Chennai was cleared high and the ball landed on a Churchill player's hand. Chennai City appeal for handball but not given by the referee.
A powerful shot from outside the box was half saved by Naveen and Charles was the quickest to react to the follow up and taps it into the goal for Chennai's third goal. Less than 15 minutes remaining game Churchill got a penalty as Brandon was brought down in the box. He himself stepped up to take converted from the spot to pull one back.
Edwin, with less than 5 minutes remaining, tries to aim the goal from the center of the box, does get the shot away but it was an easy low forward dive and save for Naveen.
As a result of this match, Aizawl FC and East Bengal have earned the right to go through to the semi-finals from Group A of the Federation Cup.