Chennaiyin booked their passage into the quarter-finals of the 2019 Hero Super Cup with a well-played 2-0 victory over fellow Hero Indian Super League side (Hero ISL) Mumbai City at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
The match started on a cagey note with both sides battling it out in midfield with chances at a minimum during the opening exchanges. Raynier Fernandes of Mumbai City and Isaac Vanmalsawma of Chennaiyin caused the most danger with their pace and trickery. However, the first real opening of the game would fall to striker Jeje for Chennaiyin. The forward picked up the ball near the edge of the box. With Lucian Goian standing up to him, he created a yard of space for himself before firing a left-footed shot which went wide of the far post.
A few minutes later, Chennaiyin would have another good opportunity to break the deadlock from a set-piece. Isaac’s free-kick from just outside the box seemed to be heading for the back of the net, however Ravi Kumar was at hand to prevent it.
The Islanders failed to muster up any clear opportunities in the half, with Raynier Fernandes’ long-range shot the only effort which tested the palms of Karnajit Singh. Just when it looked like the half would end goalless, Vineeth opened the scoring with a sumptuous finish. The 30-year-old found space outside the penalty box, turned and then fired a shot, which flew into the top corner. Only a minute later, Jeje doubled Chennaiyin’s lead with another neat finish. This time the Mizo sniper got on the end of a well-placed cross from Thoi Singh, before efficiently guiding the ball into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance. With that, the Marina Machans entered the half with a healthy two goal lead.
John Gregory’s unit were riding high on confidence with the lead and nearly scored a third within minutes of the second period. Vineeth was once again causing a nuisance for the Mumbai defenders with his clever movement. He managed to find a few yards of space from 25-yard-out before unleashing a fierce drive, which forced Ravi Kumar into a fine save.
Mumbai continued to struggle in the second half, failing to break down Chennaiyin’s resolute defence. Goian came closest to pulling a goal back for Mumbai when his long-range attempt nearly creeped into the far post. That proved to be the only notable attempt for Mumbai as the likes of Mailson Alves and Eli Sabia held their fort well to ensure that the South-Indian team finished with a clean sheet.