I-League: Punjab go top of the table with 2-0 win over Chennai

RoundGlass Punjab FC recorded their second win on the trot in the I-League by beating Chennai City 2-0 at the Kalyani Municipal Stadium on Saturday. With the result, the Punjab side have now displaced Churchill Brothers from the top of the league table with 14 points in eight games.

Papa Diawara and Robert Nungrum scored but it was Punjab goalkeeper Kiran Kumar Limbu who won the player of the match award for his performance in goal which gave his team a fifth clean sheet in eight matches.

RoundGlass Punjab made just one change from their 2-1 victory over the Indian Arrows as Mohammed Irshad started ahead of Suranjit Singh. Chennai City FC also made a change from their 2-1 win over NEROCA FC as head coach Satyasagara picked Lijo Francis over Umasankar.

The game opened with fast end-to-end football, but both sides were unable to get their efforts on target. The earliest opening came in the eighth minute for Chennai City as Iqbal saw Punjab custodian Kiran Kumar off his line. However, his shot was blocked by the Punjab defence. The game died down in the next couple of minutes due to an early injury to Iqbal, forcing Satyasagara to change him with Elvedin Skrijelj.

Punjab kept pushing and reaped rewards in the 43rd minute. Souvik Das’s cross found Diawara just outside the six-yard box. The Senegalese held off a challenge from Tarif Akhand and volleyed his effort past a stranded Kabir Toufik.

Chennai City sought an immediate reply through a free-kick. Substitute Elvedin Skrijelj’s cross from a distance was met by Demir Avdic, who yet again failed to hit the target. As a result, RoundGlass Punjab went into half-time with a 1-0 lead.

Punjab then got their second goal late in the second half. They came close again in the 84th minute. Papa Diawara latched on to Beitia’s corner, but his header whiskered over the goal. It did not matter though as the Punjab team scored four minutes later.

Aphaoba Singh broke on the counter, latching on to a long pass from Beitia, before sending in a dipping shot. Toufik saved the shot but sent the rebound into the path of substitute Rupert Nongrum, who made sure he remained onside and duly put the ball into an empty net.