Petar Sliskovic scored a brace as Chennaiyin FC beat 10-man TRAU FC 4-1 to register their first win of the season in a Durand Cup Group C match at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Thursday.
Kwame Karikari and Vafa Hakhamaneshi scored one in each half, while Petar netted his first in the 16th second of the game and the other in the second half. Komron Tursonov scored for TRAU FC from the spot.
Chennaiyin FC, who were at the bottom of their group before tonight’s match, climbed to the second spot (ahead on goal difference) to keep their hopes for knockout qualification alive. The Marina Machans have four points from three matches, the same as NEROCA FC.
Chennaiyin FC coach Thomas Brdaric handed full debuts to goalkeeper Devansh Dabas, foreigners Vafa Hakhamaneshi and Kwame Karikari and brought in Edwin Sydney Vanspaul and Mohammad Sajid Dhot to the starting line-up as well. Jockson Dhas also returned to the playing XI.
Chennaiyin FC took the lead within 16 seconds when Sliskovic found the back of the net after Karikari’s shot was deflected by a TRAU defender and fell kindly to the Polish forward, who slotted it off the post and into the corner.
Chennaiyin FC extended their lead in the 19th minute. Karikari chased a loose ball in the TRAU box before laying it up for Sliskovic. However, TRAU goalkeeper Jedidi Haiokip came off his line and fouled Sliskovic inside the box to hand Chennaiyin FC a penalty. Karikari stepped up to convert from the spot.
TRAU were reduced to 10 men when Salam Johnson Singh was sent off in the 36th minute for dissent.
Chennaiyin FC conceded a goal towards the end of the first half when Mohammad Sajid Dhot’s handball resulted in a penalty for TRAU. Komron sent Devansh the wrong way to score for TRAU.
Chennaiyin FC scored twice after the restart in the space of 10 minutes.
Six minutes after the break, Vafa used his height to good effect to head home an Anirudh Thapa corner.
In the 55th minute, a cross from the left by Aakash Sangwan, who replaced Dhot at the start of the second half, landed neatly on Sliskovic’s head. The forward calmly headed home Chennaiyin FC’s fourth goal to ensure three points for the side.
Chennaiyin will next face Neroca FC on September 5 in their last Group C game, which could decide the second spot.