Chennaiyin snapped a four-match winless streak with a win over Kerala Blasters

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Aakash Sangwan scored the only goal in the match

Chennaiyin snapped their four-match losing streak in the ISL 2023-24 as they beat Kerala Blasters 1-0 at the Marina Arena on Friday. Aakash Sangwan’s goal at the hour mark was enough to propel the Marina Machans to victory. 

Chennaiyin head coach Owen Coyle made three changes to the side that lost 0-1 to Bengaluru in their previous ISL fixture. Defender Lazar Cirkovic replaced Sarthak Golui at the heart of the defense. Ayush Adhikari and Farukh Choudhary regained their spot in the midfield and took the positions of Mobashir Rahman and Jordan Murray. 

Kerala Blasters head coach Ivan Vukomanovic took the field without Dimitrios Diamantakos as he suffered an injury in the training session ahead of the match and started Ishan Pandita in the box instead. 

Mohammed Aimen and Danish Farooq replaced Rahul KP and Mohammed Azhar in the midfield while Marko Leskovic and Sandeep Singh replaced Hormipam Ruivah and Pritam Kotal in defense.

Farukh Choudhary of Chennaiyin in action against Kerala Blasters player Sandeep Singh

It was the home side who registered the first shot of the game as Rafael Crivellaro’s effort from outside the box took a deflection of Sandeep and rolled into the hands of the Kerala Blasters goalkeeper in the 7th minute. 

Two minutes later, the Blasters had a sniff at goal when Daisuke Sakai made a grounded cross from the right flank and Fedor Cernych volleyed his shot from a tight angle. But, Debjit Majumder kept his eye on the ball and collected the ball. 

In the 17th minute, Chennaiyin’s Crivellaro made a long pass from his own box that freed Rahim Ali on the counter but Sachin Suresh came off his line and thwarted the danger. 12 minutes later, Cernych turned past his marker and took a shot at goal from a tight angle but Ryan Edwards’ deflection made the collection easy for the Chennaiyin goalkeeper.

In the 34th minute, Sachin put his body on the line to collect Ninthoinganba Meetei’s cross. However, he injured himself in the process and was stretchered off the field. Karanjit Singh replaced the Blasters’ goalkeeper for the rest of the match.

In the 51st minute, Crivellaro took a shot from the edge of the box but Drincic put a block on it. The rebound fell only towards Farukh Choudhary whose header was gripped by Karanjit. 

Coyle’s men finally broke the deadlock in the 60th minute when Sangwan found the net. Taking a throw-in, he passed the ball towards Farukh Choudhary who flicked it towards Sangwan after holding Sandeep Singh off his back. With no one closing him down, Sangwan extended his foot to roll the ball past the reach of Karanjit. 

Chennaiyin almost made it 2-0 in the 68th minute when Crivellaro dispossessed Jeakson Singh in the middle of the park and released Rahim on the counter. Being in a one-on-one position with the goalkeeper, he failed to find the net as Karanjit dived low to produce a save. 

Crivellaro made a dangerous-looking cross in the 69th minute from the left flank but Karanjit palmed it away to safety. 

In the 81st minute, Ankit Mukherjee lost his cool when he pushed Karanjit from behind despite the latter having the ball in his arms. Already on a yellow card, the referee showed no hesitation in dishing out another yellow card as Chennaiyin played the last ten minutes of regulation time with a man down. 

However, Kerala Blasters failed to take any advantage of the extra man and lost the match 1-0. With the loss, the Tuskers are now winless in their last three ISL games. They would be aiming to get back to winning ways when they square off against Goa next Sunday after a long break. 

Chennaiyin, on the other hand, will be aiming to build on the momentum and pick up a win over Mumbai City in their next match on Friday. They are now eighth on the points table with 15 points from 14 matches and cannot afford to drop any further points if they want to qualify for the playoffs.