The hosts cruised to victory against newcomers Chennai City…
Kim Song-Yong and Juan Quero played fundamental roles in both goals, with the pair grabbing a goal and an assist each as they helped Dave Rogers achieve his first win as DSK Shivajians manager this season. Chennai City FC, on the other hand, seemed bereft of ideas in offence and lacked discipline at the back. A comfortable 2-0 victory for he Shivajians proved to be a deserved score line.
Dave Rogers made three changes to the side that lost to East Bengal over the weekend. Goalscorer Gouramangi Singh dropped down to the bench while Jerry and Milan Singh were brought into the XI. Those changes ensured DSK could operate in a formation similar to the one they played in, in the second half of the East Bengal game. Youngster Rohit Kumar, who had been a star during his team’s 2016 Durand Cup campaign, also made it to starting XI.
For the debutants of the league, the big news in the line-up was the exclusion of keeper Karanjit Singh, who had been the star in Chennai’s 2-0 loss to Bengaluru FC. The 31-year-old was confirmed to be out with some muscle pain. Former Pune FC goalkeeper Shahin Lal Meloly made his first start in Chennai colours. The side lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
The first fifteen minutes of the match passed without much notable goalmouth action, although the home side were certainly the better side in the early exchanges. The game’s first shot on target came in the 16th minute, a shot from distance from Milan Singh that failed to trouble Shahin Lal in goal. Chennai slowly put a foot down in the game, firing a couple of shots and counter-attacks of their own, but DSK dealt with them comfortably.
In the 23rd minute, Juan Quero showed his first glimpse on the night of the threat he possesses from set-pieces, almost smashing a free kick into the top corner from right outside the box. The home side took the lead on the half hour mark after another free-kick by Quero, from about 40 yards out was wonderfully curled over the Chennai defence onto the head of No. 9 Kim Song-Yong. The team from Pune probably deserving of the lead, after a more positive start than their opponents.
As the half wore on, Chennai stepped up the pressure, getting into dangerous positions. The visitors’ best chance fell to Abhishek Das who did well to find space in the box but instead chose to lay it off for Prasanth who scuffed his lines. The half ended with the home side holding a narrow 1-0 advantage.
At the start of the second half, Yumnam Raju came on for the team from Tamil Nadu, in an attempt to shore up the defence.
The change was rendered redundant less than ten minutes into the second half, when Celestine Anyichie brought down DSK’s Song-Yong in the box, conceding a penalty in the process. Juan Quero, The Shivajians’ captain stepped up and coolly slotted the penalty down the middle. DSK had taken a 2-0 lead and now looked comfortable. The rest of the game saw a comfortable DSK side see out any little threat that the Chennai side threw at them. There were only a handful of attempts made at either goal as Dave Rogers’ team shut shop on their passive visitors.
Even the introduction of Marcos Vinicius, popularly nicknamed the tank was unable to fire on the night for Chennai City. Vinicius’ 90th minute shot that eventually rolled out for a throw-in summed up the game for the visitors who have a lot of work to do in all departments. 32-year old Juan Quero was taken off for the home side in the 67th minute, with the game all but in the bag. Youngsters Seityasen Singh and Khawlhring Lalthathanga both got run outs as Pune strolled to victory at the Balewadi Sports Complex.
The win sees DSK Shivajians register their first points on the table. They now move up to 6th place. The Shivajians’ next game is a home game versus Churchill Brothers on Saturday evening.