Chennaiyin FC’s aspirations of breaking into the top-four went up in smoke as it was held to a 1-1 draw by Hyderabad FC in a tense Indian Super League 2021-22 match at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here on Thursday.
Chennaiyin went ahead through central defender Sajid Dhot in the 13th minute, but could not hold on to its slender lead until the break as Hyderabad striker Javier Siverio (45’) continued his scoring spree with a goal on the cusp of half-time. CFC goalkeeper Debjit Majumder made a string of fine saves to stop HFC from scoring more.
There were no goals in the second period and the southern battle ended all square although designated ‘home’ team Chennaiyin pushed for a winning goal at the end. Hyderabad missed talisman Bartholomew Ogbeche, lacking teeth upfront, as the League’s top-scorer served his suspension after picking up four yellow cards.
The result means HFC moved to third on the table with 17 points from 11 matches while CFC remained sixth with 15 points from 11 outings. Chennaiyin nosed ahead through an unlikely source. Young centre-back Sajid headed in Anirudh Thapa’s inch-perfect free-kick, leaving Hyderabad goalkeeper Laxmikant Kattimani with no chance.
Stung by the early goal, HFC got its act together and started bossing possession while also creating chances in the final third. The industry paid off just before half-time as Siverio atoned for his miss with a calm and composed finish. Right-back Asish Rai sent in a delightful cross inside the box for Siviero to leap highest and head the ball in past Debjit.
Just after the restart, Debjit was forced into making two crucial saves to deny Siverio and Edu Garcia. Both teams created a flurry of chances to get the winning goal, but clear-cut chances were few and far between before Ninthoi Meetei’s thunderbolt ricocheted off the bar. Chennaiyin upped the ante in the latter stages of the second half with the introduction of Rahim Ali and Lukasz Gikiewicz. But in the end, Hyderabad held firm to eke out a point.
Result: Chennaiyin FC 1 (Sajid 13) drew with Hyderabad FC 1 (J Siverio 45)