Chennaiyin FC’s high-profile acquisitions Jordan Murray and Connor Shields marked their debuts in style by spearheading the team to a convincing 3-1 victory against Hyderabad FC in their Durand Cup 2023 opener at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahati on Thursday.
After conceding an early penalty that was converted by Chinglensana Singh (4th minute) for the opposition, Owen Coyle's men orchestrated a remarkable comeback that kickstarted just two minutes later by an own goal from Hyderabad FC’s Alex Saji (6th minute). The equalizer was followed by clinical strikes from Connor Shields (14th minute) and Jordan Murray (46th minute) to secure the win.
This emphatic victory not only showcased the strong synergy amongst Chennaiyin FC’s new-look team but was also a testament to coach Coyle’s attacking philosophy and winning mentality.
The action-packed encounter got off to an intense start as both teams exhibited their determination to secure an early lead. The deadlock was broken in the 4th minute by Hyderabad FC as their captain Chinglensana Singh converted the penalty for his side. However, the lead did not last long as Chennaiyin FC’s attacking approach saw them equalize in the 6th minute through an own goal by Hyderabad FC's Alex Saji which resulted from a precise cross by the Marina Machan’s new signing Farukh Choudhary.
The momentum continued to swing in Chennaiyin's favor, and in the 14th minute, a crucial mistake by Hyderabad's goalkeeper led to a brilliant sequence of play between debutants Jordan Murray and Connor Shields. The Australian striker latched on to the error and assisted Shields for his inaugural goal in Indian football, giving their side a well-deserved lead.
The second half saw Murray demonstrating his goal-scoring prowess just a minute after the kick-off as he deftly slotted the ball home after a well-placed pass over the top from Ayush Adhikari, another new addition to the Chennaiyin squad. The 27-year-old striker had a chance to double his goal tally merely two minutes later, but his shot narrowly missed the target.
Chennaiyin FC will now look to continue their winning momentum against Nepal-based Tribhuwan Army in their next Durand Cup fixture on August 14.
Artsmith Media Release