Chennaiyin FC made a winning start to their 2020-21 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) campaign after beating Jamshedpur FC 2-1 at the Tilak Maidan Stadium in Vasco on Tuesday. First half goals from Anirudh Thapa and Esmael Goncalves set the Marina Machans up nicely, while former Chennaiyin frontman Nerijus Valskis scored Jamshedpur’s goal eight minutes before the break.
It took Chennaiyin just one minute to get on the scoresheet. Rafael Crivellaro won the ball in midfield and passed it to the right for Goncalves, whose cross was buried into the bottom corner by Thapa following a perfectly timed run into the box by the India international.
Jamshedpur came close to levelling the score in the 7th minute when Peter Harley put his header from a set piece inches wide of the target. Esmael then found himself through on goal three minutes later but couldn’t double Chennaiyin’s lead and ended up dragging his effort wide instead.
Chennaiyin had another chance to extend their advantage in the 20th minute when Crivellaro found Lallianzuala Chhangte with a smart pass. Chhangte’s effort, though, was pushed behind for a corner by Jamshedpur’s goalkeeper TP Rehenesh, who was quick off his line to narrow the angle for the shot.
However, Rehenesh could do nothing about Chennaiyin going 2-0 up six minutes later when Isaac Vanmalsawma gave away a penalty while trying to defend a cross. Esmael took the responsibility of taking the penalty and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner.
Esmael was through on goal again soon after courtesy a smart one-two near the edge of the box but Rehenesh got down in time to make the save at his near post on this occasion.
Jamshedpur did pull one back before the break to make for an intriguing second half. Jackichand Singh turned provider for Owen Coyle’s men when an inch-perfect cross with his weaker left foot was headed in with aplomb by Valskis to reduce Chennaiyin’s lead to 2-1 going into the break.
The first big chance of the second half went to Chennaiyin in the 55th minute when Jakub Sylvestr failed to direct a Chhangte cross from the left goalwards. Jamshedpur then had a chance to score an equaliser four minutes after the hour mark, but Stephen Eze couldn’t keep his header from Aitor Monroy’s freekick on target.
They had another opportunity to level the score in the 68th minute after Chennaiyin goalkeeper Vishal Kaith mishandled the ball, which fell kindly for Jackichand on the edge of the box. Jackichand got his shot away quickly, however, luckily for Kaith and the Marina Machans, Enes Sipovic had positioned himself well to make the clearance.
Chhangte, who was in the thick of the action all night, found himself with space and time to shoot at goal in the 73rd minute after Rahim Ali had found him with a neat pass. The Indian winger produced a powerful shot and tested Rehenesh, who made the save. Rehenesh saved Jamshedpur’s blushes again five minutes later when he kept out an effort by Esmael.
The Marina Machans, in fact, had several chances to put the match beyond Jamshedpur without making the most of them. In the end, though, Chennaiyin played out a nervy five minutes of injury time and did enough to keep Jamshedpur at bay and start their season with a win.
ISL Media Release