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I-League 2017: Chennai City FC 2-1 East Bengal FC - Red and Golds capitulate at the death, slump to consecutive losses logo 12-03-2017

Chennai City FC did the unthinkable as they defeated 2017 I-League title contenders East Bengal 2-1 at the JL Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Sunday evening. It was comeback man for East Bengal, Willis Plaza (42') who broke the deadlock but a second half strike from Nandhakumar S (57') was rounded off by a late Prasanth Karuthadathkuni (90+2') goal as the Red and Golds managed to lose their second game on the trot.

In what was a must win fixture, Trevor Morgan opted to make wholesale changes to the team that was upset by Churchill Brothers. Lalrindika Ralte, Narayan Das and Rahul Bheke came in while Arnab Mondal and Willis Plaza were also deemed fit enough to start.

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Chennai City, on the other hand, made just the sole change to the team that held Bengaluru during midweek with Marcos Vinicius replacing Raegan Albarnas in Soundararajan’s 4-4-1-1 system.

East Bengal started the game on the front foot and fashioned the first chance in the third minute when Lalrindika Ralte played Payne through the middle and the Australian went on to skip past a couple of challenges and got a shot away from the edge of the area which had to be kept out by an alert Karanjit.

The home team, though, looked good on the counter and forced a diving save from Rehenesh in the ninth minute. Charles laid off Nandha’s cross to Marcos Vinicius and the Brazilian’s effort was parried away by Rehenesh.

Meanwhile, Nikhil Poojary went down clutching his ankles and Morgan was forced to send on Mohammed Rafique for the youngster. Though Chris Payne forced Karanjit into another save in the 20th minute, the early intensity from the Red and Golds had dropped off.

But seven minutes later, Lalrindika Ralte saw an effort from inside the penalty box after a scything run through the Chennai City defence come back off the bar. Ralte would go on to miss another glorious opportunity in the 40th minute when he capitalised on a high ball into the box, made space for himself and blasted over from close range.

But, East Bengal got the much awaited go-ahead goal immediately after when Mehtab Hossain played Rahul Bheke down the the right and his cross was thumped in by Willis Plaza at the near post. The goal ensured Trevor Morgan’s nerves were eased as the teams went into the break.

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