Chennaiyin FC became the first team to qualify for the knockouts of the 132nd IndianOil Durand Cup when they beat Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC 3-0 in a Group E fixture which was played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Farukh Chaoudhary opened the scoring for Chennaiyin while Rahim Ali doubled their lead through a penalty and Rafael Crivellaro completed the scoring. Chennaiyin FC have six points from two matches and take the top spot and the automatic qualification place in the knockouts.
Chennaiyin FC Head Coach Owen Coyle named an unchanged starting lineup that had beaten Hyderabad FC while Tribhuvan Army FC Head Coach K.C Megh Raj named one change to the starting lineup from the previous match with Basant Jimba coming in for Suroj Basnet.
Chennaiyin FC pressed hard from the start, giving no time for the Nepal side to settle and as a result dominated the possession. They could have scored inside the first ten minutes with Connor Shields setting up Farukh Choudhary but the latter’s effort went above the crossbar.
Connor Shields missed a chance from the very next move. Wing Backs Aakash Sangwan and K. Ajith Kumar were playing high up the field and swinging in good quality crosses.
The Marina Machans broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute from a good combination move by Connor Shields and Farukh Choudhary.
Farukh converted the cut back from Shields past Nepal goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu. Chennai continued to keep possession and attack the Tribhuvan box continuously. Jordan Murray was fouled inside the penalty area by midfielder Sudil Rai, awarding a penalty for Chennaiyim.
The penalty was converted by Rahim Ali giving a two goal advantage for the Marina Machans. The best chance in the half for Tribhuvan Army came late into the half as Basant Jimba caught goalkeeper Debjit Majumder out of position, but his chipped attempt went wide.
Chennaiyin continued to play in the same way as Owen Coyle brought in the changes to freshen up the lineup.
Their high pressing forced mistakes out of Tribhuvan side as the Machans looked to increase the score line. The best chance of the half came for the Nepal side as their captain Nawayug Shrestha forced Debajit Majumder to a good save.
The Nepal side did a good job by not conceding in the second half but their resilience was broken in the 84th minute. Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro applied the finishing touches to score the third goal for the side from Chennai and confirming their place in the knockouts.