CHENNAI: Chennaiyin FC notched up its maiden Durand Cup 2022 victory with a thumping 4-1 win over 10-man TRAU FC at the Khuman Lampak Stadium in Imphal on Thursday.
Forward Petar Sliskovic scored a brace while his strike partner Kwame Karikari and centre-back Vafa Hakhamaneshi netted a goal each. With the win, Chennaiyin, which now has four points from three Group C matches, kept alive its hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Head coach Thomas Brdaric handed full CFC debuts to goalkeeper Devansh Dabas, Karikari and Vafa while bringing Edwin Sydney Vanspaul and Md. Sajid Dhot into the starting eleven. Chennaiyin opened its account in next to no time – 16 seconds – as Karikari’s shot deflected and fell kindly to Sliskovic, who slotted the ball off a post and into the net.
CFC doubled its advantage in the 20th minute when Karikari made no mistake from the penalty spot. Sliskovic had been brought down in the box by TRAU goalkeeper Jedidi Haokip, after being set up by Karikari. In the 36th minute, the ‘home’ team was reduced to 10 men since Salam Johnson Singh was shown the marching orders for dissent.
Despite being a man down, TRAU reduced the deficit to one goal via skipper Komron Tursanov just before the break. Komron converted a penalty after Chennaiyin defender Sajid, who initially made an erroneous pass in the move, handled the ball in the 18-yard box.
However, CFC put the contest to bed by scoring twice in the space of 10 minutes post the restart. The towering Vafa, playing his first competitive match in over 14 months, used his height to good effect and turned home an Anirudh Thapa corner-kick. Then, Sliskovic turned in a superb cross from left-back Aakash Sangwan, who came on as a substitute.
RESULT: TRAU FC 1 (Komron 45(P)) lost to Chennaiyin FC 4 (P Sliskovic 1 & 55, K Karikari 20(P), Vafa 51)