Chennai City FC took a huge leap toward survival as they got the better of the Indian Arrows 5-0 here at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Thursday.
A Vineeth Kumar brace, coupled with goals from Rajesh, Jockson Dhas, and Iqbal Hussain, aided Chennai City to go four points clear of relegation rivals Neroca FC, who had lost earlier in the day.
With this win, Chennai City also ended their five-match streak of losses, and coincidentally their last win had come against Neroca in the first phase of the season.
Coming on the back of a 1-2 loss against Sudeva Delhi FC, Chennai City took control of the game by the scruff of its neck. The Chennai-based club dominated possession and created chances in a bid to propel themselves out of the relegation spot with a win. Playing high-pressing football, the Satyasagara-coached team restricted Indian Arrows in their own half.
In the 14th minute, Chennai City had the first sniff at Ahaan Prakash’s goal. Vineeth’s shot that looked sure to crash into the bottom corner was palmed away by a full-stretch dive from Prakash as the Indian Arrows survived a dangerous attack. Four minutes later, Vineeth played a one-two with Rajesh and skewed his shot wide of the goal.
The last affair between both the teams was a tactical battle with Chennai City only able to pip the Indian Arrows 1-0. However, this time as well nothing seemed to change as both teams entangled in a battle for midfield for much of the half. All of Chennai’s possession failed to open the doors of the Arrows defence as the youngsters defended with acumen.
However, the Arrows could only hold out Chennai’s attacking intensity for so long. In the 36th minute, Sriram burst on the left flank and dribbled past the Arrows defence before squaring the ball for Rajesh. With a well-timed shot, Rajesh found the back of the net from close range to make it 1-0 in Chennai’s favour. The half-time scoreline read the same.
Chennai City continued their usual attacking form in the second half and were rewarded for their play as early as the 49th minute when a long ball from the midfield found Vineeth Kumar straight onto goal. Vineeth shielded the ball from his marking player and released a venomous shot that crashed into the bottom left corner as Chennai went 2-0 up.
Chennai City turned up the heat in the second half and where they seemed to miss the final ball in the first half, they improved and looked more dangerous on the ball. In the 59th minute, the Chennai-based club capitalised on attacking momentum as Jockson Dhas’s attempt from outside of the box flew into the back of the net.
With a 3-0 lead and the result of the match-all but secured, Chennai continued to dominate possession and thwarted half chances for the Indian Arrows with ease.
However, they added more gloss to the scoreline in the 85th minute when substitute Iqbal Hussain found the back of the net from a long-range attempt from the edge of the box. In the added time at the end of the second half, Vineeth made it 5-0.
With this result, Chennai got back to winning ways and have now amassed 12 points from 12 matches while Neroca are on eight points from 12 matches, with both sides having two more games each remaining, including a clash against each other in the final round of fixtures on March 26.