3/13/2019 10:39:37 PM (GMT+3)

AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC qualify for group stage in debut campaign

 AFC Cup: Chennaiyin FC qualify for group stage in debut campaign

AHMEDABAD, Gujarat: Jeje Lalpekhlua scored the only goal as Chennaiyin FC beat Colombo FC on Wednesday to earn a place in the AFC Cup group stages in their debut campaign.

With the win, Chennaiyin FC became the first Indian Super League outfit to progress and now will be grouped along with South Asian clubs Minerva Punjab FC (India), Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club and Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka in Group E.

Australian Chris Herd returned from illness to start in midfield as Germanpreet Singh dropped to the bench. Thoi Singh and CK Vineeth also came into the starting lineup as Anirudh Thapa and Francisco Fernandes made way.

Chennaiyin got off to a lively start in what was a must-win encounter against the Sri Lankan side, winning a couple of corners in the opening minutes. Colombo found it difficult to get out of their own half as chants from the traveling Chennaiyin faithful filled the air.

A couple of aggressive tackles from both sides were deemed dangerous by the referee as Chalana Chameera and Chris Herd went into the book.

Chennaiyin’s first big chance came in the 14th minute on the break. CK Vineeth sprang clear in the Colombo half and freed Thoi on the right. The onrushing Isaac Vanmalsawma at the far post failed to connect with the resulting cross from the Manipuri winger.