Kalyani (West Bengal), Jan 29 (IANS) A 63rd minute header from Elvedin Skrijelj helped Chennai City beat Indian Arrows 1-0 in the I-League at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium here on Friday.
Chennai made five changes to their starting XI after their 0-2 defeat to Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) Football Club, bringing in Vladimir Molerovic, Suhail Pasha, Nagappan, Jishnu and Jockson Dhas. The Indian Arrows, coming into this game after their defiant performance in the 1-1 draw against Aizawl, made two changes — Harsh Patre and Sajad Hussain Paray, who scored the last gasp equaliser against Aizawl. They were replaced by Vibin Mohanan and Parthib Gogoi respectively.
Chennai City FC made a bright start to the game, and they got the first chance as early as the fourth minute when Mohamed Iqbal had only Arrows goalkeeper to beat, but Syed Hussain Bukhari deny him.
Chennai kept attacking in the opening 10 minutes and threatened to break the deadline on the 12th with a well-built move. However, Vijay Nagappan’s shot across the goal was tame and easily handled by Bukhari.
The former I-League champions held most of the possession and dominated the early proceedings while the Arrows looked to hit them on the counter. Arrows got their first chance a little after the quarter-hour mark, when Vibhin Mohanan tried a long ranger, but his shot went over the bar.
A minute later, Chennai City again came close to open the scoring as Jishnu’s deflected cross fell to Suhail Pasha, who skied his volley.
In the second half, Chennai City immediately started to pile pressure and earned a corner. Bukhari made his first impactful save as he tipped Suhail Pasha’s header over the bar. Moments later, Iqbal Hussain blasted a volley over the goal.
The Coimbatore-based side kept applying the pressure, but they failed to penetrate the Arrows defence. They finally broke the deadlock, and the Arrows’ defence, in the 63rd minute. Iqbal’s corner was met by Skrijelj at the far post, and the Serbian midfielder powered his header into the roof of the net.
Chennai almost doubled their lead minutes later, when Bukhari was unable to collect Rajesh’s bouncing shot. However, the danger was cleared by the Arrows defence.
The Arrows made a final push with a range of attacking substitutions, but Chennai held them off to win their second game of the season.