A second-half masterclass from the Chennaiyin FC Under-18 team saw them beat Raman Vijayan Soccer School (RVSS) 7-0 in the U-18 Youth League to win the Chennai zone and qualify for the final round for the first time. A remarkable four goals from Joysana Singh in eight second-half minutes along with strikes from Hendry Antonay, Prasanna Kumar and Jaya Ruban guaranteed Chennaiyin FC top spot in the Chennai zone and qualification to the final round of the competition with a game to spare.
The Chennaiyin FC U-18s now have 19 points from their 7 games in the U-18 Youth League Chennai zone, and are out of the reach of their immediate rivals Chennai City FC and RVSS who have 9 points from 7 games and 7 points from 5 games respectively. Even if both those teams win their remaining matches, they would only amass 12 points and 16 points respectively, which would be short of Chennaiyin FC’s current tally of 17 points.
Chennaiyin FC made two changes to the team that beat Football Plus 5-0 in the previous game. Vijay Thangavel in attack and Ajin Tom in midfield came in as Ajith Arasu and Kartik Nayyar made way.
The game got off to a cagey start with both sides faltering in possession. Chennaiyin FC’s first big chances came in the 10th minute, as forward Aman Chetri made a surging run on the right flank. The Guwahati boy galloped into the RVSS box and squared it to the onrushing Joysana Singh, only for the latter to botch his connection and put the shot wide from six yards.
The home team too conjured up a couple of decent half-chances, but to no avail. Then in the 35th minute the same duo of Joysana and Aman combined, the latter this time put in on goal, his shot missing by a whisker and hitting the side netting.
Chennaiyin FC kept knocking on the RVSS goal in the lead up to half-time. Mohammed Sarif Khan’s arrowed long throw-ins were a constant threat, with one such ball in almost culminating in a goal. It was just out of the reach of Ajin, as Prasanna Kumar recovered the ball and passed it to Hendry Antonay, whose eventual shot was blocked.
All in all it was a tight first half as both sides went into the break goalless.
The second period also began on an even keel, with both sides failing to create any clear-cut chances.
But Chennaiyin FC managed to break the deadlock in the 56th minute courtesy an inviting corner kick by Aman. The ball richocheted inside the box and fell to Hendry, whose fierce right-footed shot trickled into the back of the net after the keeper got a hand to it.
And despite RVSS’s best efforts, it was soon 2-0 to Chennaiyin FC. Aman was yet again central to the move, as his inch-perfect through ball to Prasanna put him one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The latter made no mistake in slotting it low past the keeper to register his fourth goal in as many games.
Chennaiyin FC’s third goal came from a delightful team move in the minute. Hendry found Aman with a raking cross-field pass, which he played into the path of Joysana, who finished it with aplomb.
It was 4-0 to Chennaiyin FC in the blink of an eye, this time substitute Jaya Ruban netting hardly a couple of minutes after coming on. The 16-year-old Tamil Nadu boy shimmied past two RVSS players before striking a low shot on target from distance, just out of the keeper’s reach.
Joysana got his second of the game shortly after, getting on the end of a long ball from Saurabh. The Manipur boy shrugged off his marker and volleyed past the keeper.
There was no stopping Joysana in the closing stages, the CFC U-18s’ No. 38 scoring two more before the final whistle, meaning he had scored a whopping four goals in eight minutes.
The Chennaiyin FC U-18s will now take on FC Madras in their final group game on Monday, December 3 at the SSN College Ground, looking to finish on a high.