Chennai City FC was held to a goalless draw by Indian Arrows at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, in Coimbatore on Saturday, as Prabhsukhan Gill put up a commendable performance under the sticks.
V Soundarajan went for four changes to the starting XI from the previous match with Henry Mosang, Uros Poljanec, Pradeep Mohanraj, and Alexander Jesuraj coming in for V Shumeyko, V Baskaran, S Alam and Murilo respectively. Shumeyko and Ravanan continued to be at the heart of the defense, whereas Jean Joachim started the match being the sole striker up front.
Indian Arrows coach Luis Norton de Matos also went for three changes to the side that got bogged down by Churchill Brothers in Goa. Skipper Amarjit Singh, Abhijit Sarkar and Boris Singh started from the bench as they were replaced by Princeton Rebello, Aniket Jadhav and Asish Rai. Prabhsukhan Gill continued to be under the sticks supported by a backline comprising of Sanjeev Stalin, Anwar Ali, Jitendra Singh and Asish Rai.
Slovenian goalkeeper Uros Poljanec was tested in the second minute of the game when Rahim Ali triggered a venomous shot on goal from an acute angle after being played through by Sanjeev Stalin.
Within minutes Chennai City FC could have got the opener after Srinivasan Pandyan’s floated through ball found Jean Joachim. The Frenchman’s audacious effort at goal required both Gill and the woodwork to stop the ball from bulging into the net.
Chennai City started to make their attacking intentions clear in the last ten minutes of the first-half as they scooped up a number of chances. Edwin Vanspaul failed to keep his shot on target after he was laid off by Romario. Within minutes, Joachim wasted an opportunity to put his team in front when he could not direct his header towards goal after Romario delivered a perfectly measured cross for the Frenchman.
Injuries played the spoilsport in the first-half as Pradeep Mohanraj had to leave the field in an ambulance after blood continued to ooze out from a cut just above his eyebrow. On the other side, Rahim Ali was in tears after injuring his right ankle, which was soon bandaged with an ice pack.
Joachim could have broken the deadlock for Chennai City in the initial minutes of the second half if only he had beaten Gill under the sticks after dribbling past two defenders.
Joachim slotted home on the 57th minute after Gill failed to collect the ball but the linesman raised his flag to deny the Coimbatore-based side to go in front. Things heated up when Henry was given the marching orders after the defender stamped on Abhijit Sarkar. Deepak Tangri and Vanspaul were also cautioned after the situation came under control. Indian Arrows continued to show composure and maintain their defensive shape until the final whistle which earned them a point.
Chennai will next host Aizawl on February 3 whereas Indian Arrows will be up against East Bengal a day later in Kolkata.