Chennaiyin FC broke their voodoo in style with a last-minute goal from the Lithuanian forward, Nerijus Valskis. The Marina Machans broke the jinx of not scoring for 770 minutes in the Indian Super League (ISL) through a goal from the super-sub Andre Schembri in the second minute of the injury time. Hyderabad FC equalised two minutes later through their star defender Matthew Kigallon. The climax, however, was directed by Nerijus Valskis with a calm and composed finish past the Hyderabad custodian, Kamaljit Singh.
Very few turned up in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai to witness the two bottom-placed teams go head to head against each other. It was a duel between the teams that couldn’t score and another who couldn’t stop the opposition from scoring.
The hosts threatened the opposition from the very first minute with a free-kick from Rafael Crivellaro. The Marina Machans represented John Gregory’s passing style football with the majority of the ball.
The first real chance fell to Lallianzuala Chhangte who had been poor in front of the goal throughout the season. Rafael Crivellaro puts the Indian winger through with a pass from outside of the boot for the winger to earn a corner from his shot.
The best chance of the match fell again to the Chennaiyin FC winger who just had to beat the goalkeeper from six yards range. Instead, his diving header was off-target and Hyderabad FC breathed a huge sigh of relief. The Indian winger threatened down the flank, bamboozled and beat the defenders with his pace and trickery but his poor form in front of the goal let him down. The chances came thick and fast for the Marina Machans but to the dismay of the hosts, the chances went begging.
The visitors got their feet back to the game in the second half where they threatened to break down the opposition defence a number of times. The match looked like an even-sided affair in the second half with both teams failing to convert their chances. The Marina Machans rattled the post twice in the second half while Hyderabad FC occasionally troubled the Chennaiyin goalkeeper, Vishal Kaith.
The drama unfolded in the injury time when Chennaiyin FC scored the first goal of the season. The super-sub, Andre Schembri snatched the ball from the Mohammad Yasir to slot it past the Hyderabad FC goalkeeper, Kamaljit Singh.
The visitors equalised two minutes later through a header from their foreign defender Matthew Kilgallon from a well-directed corner. There was no end to the drama as Nerijus Valskis scored the winner a minute later to give Chennaiyin FC a first taste to the victory this season.
The match which was supposed to end goalless produced a spectacle at the dying minutes of the game. Kamaljit Singh kept the visitors at bay with six massive saves but the hosts had the last laugh at the end of the game. The win saw Chennaiyin FC leapfrog their rival for the night to occupy the ninth position while Hyderabad FC is bottom with just one win from five games.