Chennaiyin FC registered a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC in the opening football match of the Indian Super League on Tuesday. Vladimir Koman (66th minute) scored from the spot to give Chennaiyin a crucial lead, securing all three points in the end as Hyderabad regretted their disintegration in front of goal, especially in the first half.
Hyderabad quickly suffered a major setback, with Halicharan Narzary limping down in less than 10 minutes. This did not discourage them from making an impression, as former ATK player Mohun Bagan, Edu Garcia’s shot was removed in haste but Bartholomew Ogbeche could not pass.
Chennaiyin asked goalkeeper Vishal Kaith to thank him for keeping the former champions in the game. The Himachal Pradesh native was tested several times but did not suffer any harm. Hyderabad really wasted the opportunities presented by Chennaiyin’s delicate defense. Ogbeche missed more than useful opportunities, but substitute Nikhil Pujari’s work rate near the square only gave him new fans.
Kyrgyz playwright Mirlan Murzaev almost gave Chennaiyin a ray of hope at the end of the first half, but his header came from a Reagan Singh cross. Chennaiyin continued even after the break controlling Mirlan Murzaev and Lallianzuala Chhangte proved difficult. Chhangte probably had the best chance of the night when he defeated Akash Mishra with a run, cut and a hard shot, only to be informed by Kaith.
However, the new captain Anirudh Thapa did a great job. Former AS Monaco player Vladimir Koman took a step back to deliver a powerful piledriver that gave goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani no chance, breaking the deadlock with only 20 minutes of play. Chennaiyin’s Manolo Marquez had to watch the rest of the game from the sidelines, after twisting his ankle after 4 minutes into play. Joel Chianese, Xavi Severio, Sahil Tavora, and young striker Rohit Danu were introduced in the 77th minute.
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