Former champions Chennaiyin FC returned to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Odisha FC in the 2021-22 Indian Super League match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium, here on Saturday.
Germanpreet Singh opened the scoring with his first-ever goal in the Hero ISL. Mirlan Murzaev made it 2-0 in the second half with a brilliant strike from distance as the Boidar Bandovic-coached side moved to third in the points table, level on points with second-placed Jamshedpur FC and four off league leaders Mumbai City FC.
Odisha succumbed to their second straight defeat and dropped a rung to fifth place with nine points from six matches. Chennaiyin have 11 points from six games. Javi Hernandez scored a superb goal but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Both teams looked to suss each other out in the opening exchanges and it was a cagey affair before Chennaiyin nosed ahead riding an unlikely source.
Germanpreet scored a goal after six years when he smashed home a rebound after Odisha keeper Kamaljit Singh blocked a cross from the right flank which fell to Germanpreet.
It was the first goal for the 25-year old since 2015 when he had netted for Dempo against Royal Wahingdoh.
Despite being 1-0 down, Odisha continued to give Chennaiyin a tough time but failed to find the back of the net, also adding teeth upfront.
It was end-to-end stuff from the start of the second period. Lallianzuala Chhangte got a golden opportunity to double Chennaiyin’s lead when he was one-on-one with Kamaljit who narrowed the angle and smothered Chhangte’s effort.
Five minutes later, Aridai Suarez fired a ferocious long-ranger which cannoned off the post and went out for a goal kick. Aridai came close again but his attempt flew over the bar.
At the other end, Chennaiyin doubled their advantage courtesy of a scintillating solo effort from Murzaev. The 31-year old Kyrgyzstan footballer was unmarked and made the most of it with a long-range shot that arrowed past a diving Kamaljit and thudded into the back of the net.
It could have been 3-0 for Chennaiyin after Vladimir Koman was hacked down inside the box, but Lukasz Gikiewicz saw his effort saved by Kamaljit. Javi Hernandez scored a stunner in added time but it was too little too late and Chennaiyin bagged the all-important three points.