Manjeri (Kerala), April 11 Striker Rahim Ali struck a brace as Chennaiyin FC kickstarted their Super Cup 2023 with a 4-2 victory over NorthEast United FC in their opening Group D match at the Payyanad Stadium, here on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old not only opened the scoring for Chennaiyin in the 17th minute but also provided a perfect finishing touch by netting the team’s fourth in the 82nd minute. Edwin Sydney Vanspaul (33rd) and Julius Duker (49th) scored the two other goals for the Marina Machans. Rochharzela (42nd) and Laldanmawia Ralte (90+3) scored for the losing side.
Chennaiyin made an aggressive start and looked more confident among the two. The team, led by Anirudh Thapa, could have been 1-0 up inside the first 10 minutes had they been given a penalty when the opposition defender was seen handling the ball inside the box.
However, Thomas Brdaric’s men didn’t have to wait too long as Rahim guided Vafa Hakhamaneshi’s inch-perfect cross to the top left corner with an exquisite header.
Edwin doubled the lead for Chennaiyin after he volleyed home from Aakash Sangwan’s header from outside the box.
NorthEast United struggled to find the ball with Chennaiyin going all guns blazing. However, a moment of joy came for them three minutes before the half time when Rochharzela handed the Highlanders their first goal of the match from a rebound after a brilliant close range save by goalkeeper Samik Mitra.
Chennaiyin extended their dominance in the second half as it took them just four minutes after the break to make it 3-1. A spectacular left-footed corner by Sangwan found Duker in the perfect position, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net. It was Sangwan’s second assist of the match.
Later, Rahim added one more goal to his name to take the match further away from opposition’s reach.
Ralte scored NorthEast United’s second goal but it wasn’t enough with only a couple of minutes left in the game.
After the winning start, Marina Machans will next lock horns against Churchill Brothers in their second Group D match on Saturday at the same venue.
(This article is from IANS syndicated feed and has not been edited by The SportsGrail)