ISL 2017-18: Chennaiyin conquer Bengaluru FC in their own backyard to lift 2nd title in thrilling fashion
Chennaiyin FC lifted their game to a level befitting the occasion and sent fancied Bengaluru FC crushing to a painful 2-3 defeat, clinching the Indian Super League (ISL) title in style in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Bengaluru: Chennaiyin FC lifted their game to a level befitting the occasion and sent fancied Bengaluru FC crushing to a painful 2-3 defeat, clinching the Indian Super League (ISL) title in style in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Chennaiyin FC's Mailson Alves turned out to be the star of the title with a brace. And there was also some Brazilian touch to the game.
Mailson first scored in the 17th minute, which cancelled Sunil Chhetri's ninth minute opener for the hosts, and then propelled his side to a remarkable lead with another leaping header in the 45th minute.
Raphael Augusto, also a Brazilian, added to the home team's agony with his 67th minute strike, leaving the raucous home fans stunned at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium, which was packed to the rafters.
Miku scored for Bengaluru in injury time but that proved to be too little, too late.
Interestingly, four out of the five goals came through headers.
This was Chennaiyin FC's second title triumph in the ISL, tying them with ATK as the most successful team in the tournament.
In their quest to find the equaliser, Bengaluru FC often left gap in the back line, and Chennaiyin took full advantage of that to close out the game.
Entering the final after an unbeaten run of 10 games, Bengaluru FC started it in the earnest and effected the first breakthrough.
Chhetri's opening goal gave Bengaluru FC the advantage they needed early on in the summit showdown.
Chhetri headed in after the impressive Udanta Singh, with a great burst of pace down the wings, made the assist.
The home team's joy, though, was short lived as Alves jumped high to meet Gregory Nelson's corner and headed in the equaliser.
As the half time approached and with both teams looking contend to be locked at 1-1, Mailson found himself at the right place as the centre half rose as high as possible to head in one more time off a set piece past a hapless Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.
Bengaluru FC tried to create openings in the second half but it was the visiting side that tasted success, with Augusto finding the back of the net.
Udanta once managed to find the back of the net but that was flagged off by the linesman in what was a very tight call.
Rishad PP, who plays as a defensive midfielder, put defending champions Gokulam Kerala ahead with his 49th minute strike to stun the partisan crowd of over 35,000 at the Salt Lake Stadium.
The match is part of India's preparation for the forthcoming AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers Final Round scheduled to be held in Kolkata from 8 June.
Jesin TK was one of the star performers as Kerala won the Santosh Trophy with thousands turning up to watch their matches.