It was a story of two halves at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Stadium with the visiting Chennaiyin FC bagging the decisive goal in the second and as a result secured three points on Sunday. The winning goal was netted by Henrique Sereno in the 81st minute.
The home side made a couple of changes from their triumph in the Maharashtra Derby with debuts being handed out to Adil Khan and Vishal Kaith. A 4-2-3-1 formation was laid out by head coach, Ranko Popovic, with Adil partnering Marcos Tebar in midfield in place of Rohit Kumar and Vishal Kaith taking his place in goal. The former of the duo had an immediate impact on the game when he won the ball in the middle of the park and took it further up the pitch to slid it through for Marcelinho’s run but the Brazilian couldn’t find the target. Further on, the likes of Diego Carlos, Rafael Lopez, Adil Khan and Emiliano Alfaro were enforcing attacks but none could test Kamaljit Singh. The visiting side maintained a conservative approach but had two shots, a header by Dhanpal Ganesh and a shot from distance by Bikramjit Singh which were dealt with.
The interval’s end brought about a complete shift in fortunes as Chennaiyin FC began dominating the play. The full-backs began pressing further up the pitch which in turn created chances for them. A number of crosses were pinged into dangerous areas but the home side remained resolute as proven by a Rafael Lopez goal-line-clearance after a cross was pinged in from the left and Vishal Kaith failed to collect it. The Spaniard had a terrific game in defense however his undoing came late in the second half when his countryman leading the opposition team scored the winner.
Despite multiple attempts to equalize, the Stallions came short of a well-rested Chennaiyin FC. The Stallions play their next away to league debutantes Jamshedpur FC on Sunday.