Kalyani: Former champions Chennai City FC defeated Gokulam Kerala FC 2-1 in their opening match of the I-League here on Saturday.
Vijay Naggapan's 50th-minute strike proved to be the difference between the two sides after Gokulam Kerala's third-minute strike by Dennis Antwi was cancelled out by Elvedin Skrijelj's 26th-minute penalty.
Gokulam Kerala FC wasted no time and took the lead in the third minute with Dennis Antwi firing home from close range following a quick corner.
Chennai City's Singaporean signing Iqubal came close to bagging an equaliser from a freekick in the eighth minute. Shortly after, Philip Adjah could have found the net for Gokulam FC but shot wide of the target from outside of the box.
In the 26th minute, Chennai City's Serbian import Vladimir Molerovic was brought down inside the box. The other Serbian import for Chennai, Elvedin Skrijelj, scored from the spot to level the scores.
It took Chennai City five minutes into the second half to take the lead. Vijay Naggapan played a delightful one-two with Demir Avdic to find the back of the net.
Vincent Barreto could have levelled the scores once again in the 55th minute when a wayward ball landed at his feet inside the Chennai City box. Barreto, however, failed to find the net.
Gokulam pressed hard to find the equaliser but Chennai City defended as a compact unit to hold on to the lead.