After a five month long journey,it is finally Chennaiyin FC who has been crowned the Indian Super League 2018 Champions in the Finals against Bengaluru FC.
Chennaiyin FC beat Bengaluru FC with a 3-2 in the final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium on Sunday. Goals from Mailson Alves and Raphael Augusto gave Chennai their second ISL trophy. Sunil Chhetri scored the opener. The match began with both the teams enjoying equalling success so far. But the opening goal by Chhetri set the tone for the match as Chennai ultimately emerged as the victors.
For the 25,000-odd fans who had assembled though, the match provided entertaining fare.
Bengaluru pressed from the outset particularly in the right-inside channel where Miku and Udanta Singh combined well.This was the route the first goal took as defender John Johnson drove through the midfield unchallenged and passed to Miku who played Udanta behind the Chennaiyin FC right-back Jerry Lalrinzuala. Alves got a foot to Udanta’s cross but Chhetri at the far post perfectly re-calibrated his run to head home.
Brazilian Augusto ran the show from the midfield even as Gregory Nelson’s and Jeje Lalpekhlua’s fluid movement upfront kept BFC guessing. Eric Paartalu ,playing as an auxiliary centre-back — BFC lined up with a three-man defence — gave a decent account of himself.
When Alves rose above everyone to head in the equaliser in the 17th minute, neither he nor his other towering teammates could do anything .He was given so much time that he even placed his hands on teammate Sereno Fonseca’s shoulder to gain some extra elevation. The goal that put Chennaiyin ahead came on the stroke of half-time with Alves this time out-jumping centre-back Juanan Gonzalez.
Between the two goals, BFC midfielder Dimas Delgado saw a half-volley cleared on the line by defender Inigo Calderon, while Chhetri and Miku tried their luck from far. Immediately after the restart, there were even four successive corners which the home side wasted.
At the other end Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made an excellent low save to his left to deny Nelson but it wasn’t long before Chennaiyin seemingly buried the contest. In the 67th minute, Augusto, after receiving the ball from Jeje Lalpekhlua just outside the penalty area, curled one around Juanan, completely blindsiding Gurpreet.
Chhetri then forced a leaping Karanjit Singh to deflect a ball which was headed for the top corner. With just five minutes to go, Miku found the BFC skipper with a deft cut-back only for him to send it soaring over the bar when he had just the goalie to beat. A crestfallen Chhetri lay on the floor and it was probably the image which best captured the night.
Results : Chennaiyin FC 3 (Mailson 17, 45, Raphael 67)
Bengaluru FC 2 (Chhetri 9, Miku 90).
It has been an incredible journey for us. We hung in there… showed amazing character.
John Gregory, Chennaiyin FC coach