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Rohit Ramesh's CHENNAI CITY FC are the new CHAMPIONS OF INDIA

Rohit Ganguly  |  I-League  |  2 Weeks Ago

In a thrilling final day encounter, Chennai City FC notched up their maiden I-League trophy bettering outgoing champions, Minerva Punjab in a topsy-turvy battle between the two sides.

 

The final day of the I-League was similar to its last three seasons which featured title bouts. East Bengal was breathing on the neck of Chennai with a gap of only 1 point between them. A victory for East Bengal would have secured their maiden I-League trophy only if Chennai would have settled for nothing less than a win. 

 

To everyone's joy in Bengal, Minerva Punjab surged ahead with a clinical finish, following a picture-perfect header from Roland Bilala. Juan Quero curled in a delightful cross from which Bilala drew first blood for the visitors.

 

Chennai suffered an early setback when Roberto Eslava had to pull out off today's game following a muscle sprain. He was replaced by Tarif Akhand.

 

The first-half never really saw a fluent Chennai as the introduction of Juan Quero brought a paradigm shift to Minerva's style of play.

 

All that the champions could manage against a brazen backline of Minerva was a miscued shot from Pedro.





However, the second-half saw a revamped Chennai City FC and the champions started firing on all cylinders.

 

Akashdeep ended up handling the ball inside the box, gifting an opportunity to Chennai to restore parity. It was their best performer of the season who stepped up and Manzi scored a clinical spot-kick.

 

Within quick succession, Chennai surged ahead as Gaurav Bora scored from a stellar corner of Sandro, with the latter curling a poisonous ball in for Bora to slot home.

 

Chennai could have put the game well beyond Minerva's gasp as Manzi's powerfully steered header grazed the woodwork before being gobbled up by Nidhin Lal.

 

Chennai sealed the fate of the tie and the league as we saw an almost similar goal from Gaurav Bora who steered his header into the net from a Sandro Rodriguez corner.

 

As the final whistle blew, it heralded a new era for Chennai as they penned a remarkable comeback from being at the rock-bottom of the league in the previous season to clinching the title with an impressive performance throughout that only had three losses.

 

Despite a gritty chase from East Bengal, the giants from Bengal were finally grounded despite a pompous victory over Gokulam Kerala in their final match.

 

With the Super Cup looming, East Bengal can plot their vengeance, but for now, Chennai City FC will bask in unhinged rapture.






 

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