Connor Shields scored twice as Chennaiyin FC registered a dominating 5-1 victory against Punjab FC in the 2023-24 Indian Super League match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday, October 29.
Leading from the front, Ryan Edwards opened the scoring for Chennaiyin FC in the 24th minute while Connor Shields (27′,56′), Rafael Crivellaro (45+1′ pen) and substitute Vincy Barretto (84′) also got their names on the scoresheet to ensure the second win in a row for the Marina Machans that helped them move into the Top-6 in the points table. Krishnananda Singh Khundongbam scored Punjab FC’s only goal in the 86th minute.
Coming into the match after a win over Hyderabad FC, Owen Coyle’s men were brimming with confidence as they went with all guns blazing from the word go against the side which is new to the league. The hosts not only dominated the opposition with their aggressive display but also created several close chances that saw them scoring two goals in quick succession.
It was captain Edwards, who scored the opening goal of the match for Chennaiyin FC with a right-footed strike before the 26-year-old Shields doubled the lead in no time and gave the home fans another reason to celebrate. He converted Crivellaro’s cross to perfection.
Things got even worse for the visitors who conceded a penalty after Farukh Choudhary was brought down in the box. The fan-favourite Crivellaro made no mistake to make it 3-0 for Chennaiyin FC at the stroke of half time.
Punjab FC’s struggle continued even after the break as they suffered a big blow when defender Melroy Assisi was sent off with a red card for pulling down Rahim Ali, reducing them to 10 men.
Taking full advantage of the situation, Chennaiyin FC took the game further away from Punjab with the Scottish striker Shields netting his second goal of the match with a spectacular strike from distance.
The 23-year-old Barretto, who came onto the field in the 64th minute, made his presence felt when he converted a Jordan Murray pass to score the team’s fifth goal.
Punjab FC, however, hit their first goal in the 86th minute with Khundongbam striking from outside the box, but it was too late as Chennaiyin FC completed a commanding victory in a lopsided contest.
Chennaiyin FC will now host FC Goa on Sunday whereas Punjab FC will continue their hunt for the first ISL win against Mumbai City FC in an away game on Thursday.