Vineeth Kumar scored the opener for the southerners on Tuesday.

A clinical attacking display saw Chennai City FC get the three points against ten-man NEROCA at the VYBK Stadium in Kolkata, West Bengal today (February 09, 2021), with a 2-1 win. Strikes by Vineeth Kumar and Demir Avdic were enough to hand Chennai the win despite Subash Singh halving the deficit in the 79th minute. With this win, Chennai City FC find themselves in the top half of the table, however, NEROCA are still tenth on the table.

Chennai City FC wasted no time in showing their attacking intent. On the 4th minute, Vladimir Molerovic tried to hand the Satyasagara-coached team the lead, but his effort from distance went inches over the bar. The Chennai-based club had to wait just two minutes after Molerovic’s attempt to take the lead. In a brilliant show of footballing skill, Vineeth Kumar was found by an accurate cross by Mohamed Iqbal from the left flank on the far post. Vineeth’s diving header from a tight angle beat the opposition custodian as Chennai lead 1-0.

The goal, that came out of nowhere, fluffed NEROCA’s spirits, and shortly after, attempts by Demir Avdic were kept out by Bishrojit Singh, who was tested on more than once occasion. However, NEROCA recuperated and started pressing higher up the pitch. On the 15th minute, Subash Singh tried to dribble his way past the Chennai defence, but failed to release a powerful shot.

NEROCA survived a scare on the 18th minute when defender Manjit Sharma’s loose pass for goalkeeper Bishrojit Singh was almost latched upon by a lurking Demir Avdic. If Avdic had stolen possession, it would have been a simple goal for Chennai. More chances came for Chennai to double their advantage. On the 28th minute, Rajesh’s cross found Vineeth inside the box. This time Vineeth tried to half-volley the cross but his effort went wide.

With Chennai City FC having the lion’s share of possession and creating chances at will, NEROCA relied on counter-attacks to test the opposition. Subash Singh Singham scuffed his shot from range in the 33rd minute and substitute Khaiminthang Lhungdim, shortly after, headed a Gobin Singh cross wide of the goal. The half-time scoreline read 1-0 in Chennai’s favour.

NEROCA did not hold back in the second half and fought for every inch on the field. Although they attacked in droves, the Gift Raikhan-coached side lacked creativity up front with Subash Singh mostly isolated and unable to link play with Judah Garcia. Their efforts to grab the equaliser were highly minimised in the 61st minute when Shoib Akhtar was sent off for a rash tackle on Jockson Dhas.

Playing with ten men, NEROCA were dealt another heavy blow on the 68th minute when Demir Avdic made no mistake to double Chennai City’s lead as he headed home his effort from close range to make the scoreline read 2-0. Trailing two goals with a man down, the task to grab even a point seemed uphill for NEROCA.

However, they did not go out without a fight. The Manipur-based club resorted to long balls and smashed them forward in an attempt to find a goal. The breakthrough came in the 79th minute for NEROCA. Judah Garcia’s attempt from close range was heroically saved by the opposition goalkeeper, but the ball fell to Subash Singh, who smashed it home from a hand-shaking distance, halving NEROCA’s deficit.

Despite the late surge by their opponents, Chennai City’s defence held on to the slender lead and at the end, the scoreline read 2-1 as Chennai City FC grabbed three points.

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