Last Updated: January 21, 2023, 21:54 IST
Chennaiyin FC returned to the Marina Arena after a month-long wait to host ATK Mohun Bagan in the first home game for the team from Tamil Nadu in the year 2023.
The opening couple of minutes passed by as the teams tried to establish a foothold in the game. Chennai’s custodian Samik Mitra came up a save diving to his right to stop an ATK attempt from outside the box.
The home team were awarded a corner from which they sought to capitalise in the 13th minute, but the Kolkata defense dealt with it. Anuradhapura Thapa’s overhit through ball to the wrong side of striker Petar Sliskovic brought an end to a counter in the quarter-hour mark.
CFC right back Aith Kumar’s delightful cross to the far post fell directly to Thapa, whose attempt to put the home team up and running went wide of the mark as the 25-year-old slapped the ground in agony.
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Ajith Kumar came up with a crucial interaction on the right before turning defence into attack in the blink of an eye as he played Vincy Barretto through on the flank. But the number.47’s attempt at a cross into the box hit the side netting.
The full-back was once again in the thick of things as his pass to the feet of Thapa, who spotted Barretto’s run into the box, played him in neatly, but the winger’s first touch let him down.
Hugo Boumous was brought down by Fallout Diagne outside the box and was brandished a yellow card for what seemed like a soft decision. But, the resulting free kick did not hurt CFC.
The home side tried to score from a tight angle following his dribble on the box but was closed down as he got close to the goalpost.
The first half came to an end with both teams heading to the tunnel with the scoreboard yet to tick on the evening.
Mitra produced an outstanding save at the start of the second period as he pounced on a shot from close range and held on to the ball, not affording the lurking ATK attackers with any spillage to pry on.
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CFC were given a free kick in a dangerous area as German Julius Duke lined up to take the ser piece. The well-taken set piece forced a save and Sliskovic tried to capitalise on the rebound but saw his shot sail over the bar.
Chennai had the best chance of the game to get the opener around the hour mark but, the visitor’s back line closed down in quick time to thwart Sliskovic from pulling the trigger from inside the box.
Edwin Sydney and Prasanth were brought on by CFC gaffer Thomas Brdaric after the 70th minute to replace Ninthoi and Thapa.
Sydney made the keeper work with a strong git from outside the box to force ATK custodian Visual Kaith.
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Birthday boy Kwame Karikari came on in place of Croat Sliskovic with just over 12 minutes to play.
Barretto hit one true and hard from outside the box in the 84th minute as the 8,489 strong crowd held their breath. But, the attempt was a bit too straight at Kaith who tipped it over.
Three minutes were added on at the end of the regulation 90 as the home team went in search of the winner urged on by the crowd. But, the referee blew his whistle with nether team able to break the deadlock to draw the game to a close.
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