CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC Reserves completed a comeback to beat Mohammedan Sporting Club despite a good effort in the first-half by the Black Panthers, in their Group B clash of the 2019/20 Hero 2nd Division League at the SSN College Ground in Mahabalipuram, Chennai on Monday.
A stoppage time brace by Senthamizhi S (90+3′ & 90+5′) and Balkar Singh (65′) secured full three points for Chennaiyin after Mohammedan had taken the lead through Vanlalbiaa Chhangte (19′).
Going into the match Mohammedan technical director Dipendu Biswas made two changes to side by handing starts to Sourav Das and Firoj Ali at the expenses of an suspended Shafiul Rahman and Sanjib Ghosh.
Mohammedan didn’t get off the mark as quickly as they might have hoped with Chennaiyin proving strong tactically, setting up a deep block with pace up front for the counter attack.
Nonetheless, Mohammedan started to find their place in the match looking like the more organised, more dominant side as they enjoyed an majority of possession.
And it was no surprise when the Black Panthers took the lead in the 19th minute though Vanlalbiaa after John Chidi played a square pass across to the Mizo winger and he reacted to Chennaiyin goalkeeper Tamal Naskar sprinting out to him by chipping the ball over his head and into the net in typically calm fashion.
From the goal onwards, Mohammedan dominated the proceedings, but poor decision-making let them down in the final third which saw the Black Panthers went into the breather with only a solitary goal lead.
Following the pause for half-time Chennaiyin came straight out of the blocks controlling the ball, winning set pieces and keeping Mohammedan pinned into their own back third.
The constant attacking by Santosh Kashyap’s men eventually wore down the Mohammedan defence to the point where a heavy touch allowed Balkar to steal possession and slot the ball past Mohammedan custodian Priyant Singh to restore the parity for the locals in the 65th minute.
That goal was what Chennaiyin needed as it gave them confidence against a side which had been running rings around them. With a couple of personnel changes, the locals started looking more and more competitive forcing Priyant and his back-line to work a little harder than they’d needed to in the first period.
Although Mohammedan had most of the possession as the game wore on, failed to stick to their passing game policy. The players seemed to be more keen on playing direct football sending long balls from the centre-line as Chennaiyin intelligently and stubbornly defended their area.
And with the visitors pressing forward, their could always be the chance the other way, materialising when Senthamizhi sored two goals in just two minutes to ensure full three points for Chennaiyin in stoppage time.
Despite successive defeats the Black Panthers still leading the log in Group B with 9 points from 5 matches and will travel to Bengaluru tomorrow to face Bengaluru FC Reserves on Thursday.
MSC XI: Priyant Singh, Sourav Das, Prosenjit Paul, Vikas Saini, Hira Mondal, Tirthankar Sarkar (Satyam Sharma – 87′), Musa Mudde, Firoj Ali, Vanlalbiaa Chhangte, Jiten Murmu, John Chidi