ISL: Chennaiyin on the verge of playoffs, NorthEast United crash out

Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC players celebrate their equaliser. Photo: FSDL/SIL

Chennai: Chennaiyin FC sent NorthEast United FC crashing out of the playoff race with a 2-1 victory  at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in the Indian Super League (ISL) 2023-24 here on Tuesday night.

 With both teams edging for the vacant sixth spot in the standings, the Juan Pedro Benali-coached side took a decisive step forward, thanks to the goal by the in-form Jithin M S. However, two late strikes by defenders Aakash Sangwan and Ankit Mukherjee helped the Marina Machans secure their third straight win. 

Chennaiyin FC are peaking at the right time and they now stand at 27 points from 21 matches in the competition. With 23 points from 21 games, NorthEast United cannot catch up to them even if they win their only remaining fixture against Odisha FC. With 24 points and a match left to play, East Bengal FC are still in the tussle for the sixth spot. Chennaiyin will go through if East Bengal drop points against Punjab FC in their final league game on Wednesday. 

Jithin teamed up with his teammate Parthib Gogoi admirably to draw first blood after a listless opening half. As the Highlanders pushed Chennaiyin behind with a quick offensive move, their forwards took positions accurately centred by the sprinting Jithin. Parthib is known to be lethal from distance but he curbed those instincts perhaps factoring in the greater interests of the team. His pass for Jithin was well weighted, and he did well to deposit it into the net in the 49th minute. 

However, Chennaiyin FC recovered rhythm as the game entered its final 20-odd minutes. Their equaliser came arguably in the most unlikeliest of ways, with Sangwan’s attempt from the corner somehow getting lobbed into the back of the net on the bottom left corner.

Ankit Mukerjee
Ankit Mukerjee reacts after netting Chennaiyin FC's winner. Photo: FSDL/ISL

The hosts steadily increased the intensity thereafter, with their domestic forwards at the centre of it all. Rahim Ali and Irfan Yadwad kept winning fouls, trying hard to make something out of set-pieces. However, as the clock hit the 91st minute mark, Rahim spotted Mukherjee in a goal-scoring position on the right side of the box. The full-back collected the assist delicately, before putting the ball into the bottom left corner to secure three points for Chennaiyin .

FC Goa in third spot

FC Goa defeated Jamshedpur FC in a 3-2 thriller to move up to third spot in the early kick-off at Jamshedpur.

The Gaurs now have 42 points from 21 matches. They are level on points with Mohun Bagan Super Giant but have played one match more than the Kolkata side.

Raynier Fernandes & Borja Herrera
Raynier Fernandes congratulates Borja Herrera on scoring FC Goa's winner. Photo: FSDL/ISL

The game kept tilting both ways until the Gaurs laid the final stamp through a winner by Borja Herrera in added time.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.