Chennaiyin moved to sixth in the Hero Indian Super League 2019-20 standings after a 2-0 win over NorthEast United FC at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on December 16.
Rafael Crivellaro gave the hosts the lead in the 57th minute with a brilliant goal from near the halfway line, while Nerijus Valskis doubled their advantage a couple minutes later thanks to another spectacular effort.
Rafael Crivellaro gave Chennaiyin FC the lead with a stunning strike from near the halfway line in the second half and Nerijus Valskis doubled the lead for the two-time champions in the 59th minute NorthEast could have gone in front within the opening minute of the game after new signing Andrew Keogh found himself clear of Chennaiyin’s defence.
The Marina Machans goalkeeper Vishal Kaith, though, was alert and quick off his line to make the save. Chennaiyin responded with a left-footed effort from Lallianzuala Chhangte that forced NorthEast’s goalkeeper into a save just two minutes later.
Chhangte then squared for Nerijus Valskis in the fifth minute but the Lithuanian striker only managed to hit the crossbar. The hosts continued to keep the pressure on NorthEast’s goal as Edwin Vanspaul tested goalkeeper Subhasish Roy with an attempt from range in the 11th minute. Andre Schembri had a couple of chances to score shortly after, but the Maltese striker couldn’t quite make the most of either of those opportunities.
NorthEast had the next chance of the game after Redeem Tlang found Milan Singh with a pass into the box. Milan managed to get his shot away but Kaith was up to the task and made the save for his side.
Mislav Komorski then produced a header from a Keogh cross to force a goal-line clearance out of Chennaiyin as the match continued to ebb and flow.
However, neither side could break the deadlock heading into the break. Both teams began the second period with great intent but couldn’t create any clear-cut chances initially. When Chennaiyin eventually did break the deadlock, it came courtesy a moment of brilliance from Crivellaro, who, in the 57th minute, spotted the NorthEast goalkeeper off his line and decided to take a pop at goal from near the halfway line successfully.
Two minutes later, another spectacular strike by Valskis made it 2-0 for the hosts. The Lithuanian striker produced a magnificent left-footed shot from outside the box that left the NorthEast goalkeeper rooted to the spot and doubled Chennaiyin’s lead.
Chhangte could have added to Chennaiyin’s advantage shortly after but he shot over the crossbar from inside the box. The young winger then executed a perfectly weighed cross from the left for Anirudh Thapa, who headed off target from inside the six-yard box in the 74th minute.
NorthEast substitute Ninthoi and Milan both tested Kaith from distance in search of a way back into the contest. The Chennaiyin custodian, though, intervened on both occasions to keep his clean sheet. Martin Chaves also found the woodwork late on for NorthEast but Chennaiyin eventually emerged as comfortable victors on the night.