The defending Indian Super League (ISL) champions, Chennaiyin FC had a pretty forgetful 2018-19 season which saw then finish at the bottom of the ISL table. However, that didn’t stop them from making headways in the AFC Cup.
It was Indian striker Jeje Lalpekhlua who scored a goal in the second half of the game against Colombo FC, playing for the Chennaiyin FC, taking the club to the group stage in the AFC Cup in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.
FT: Chennaiyin FC ?? 1 – 0 ?? Colombo FC— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) March 13, 2019
Jeje Lalpekhlua's goal secured Chennaiyin FC a spot in the #AFCCup2019 Group Stage after a win over Colombo FC in a play-off second leg tie! pic.twitter.com/OOqjDIhVGy
The team became the first Indian Super League to enter into the group stages of the AFC Cup in their debut campaign.
Chennaiyin FC will now be grouped along with 2017-18 I-League champions Minerva Punjab FC, Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club and Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka in Group E of the 2019 AFC Cup.
As it happened :
In a must-win match, Chennaiyin got off to an amazing start. Their first big chance came in the 14th minute. C K Vineeth sprang clear in the Colombo half and freed Thoi on the right but the onrushing Isaac Vanmalsawma at the far post failed to connect with the resulting cross.
The first half went goalless but Chennaiyin continued to play the game hard in search of the elusive goal. Thoi was at it yet again on the right, this time dribbling into the box before his looped cross was cleared from close range. A minute later, Thoi found Vineeth in the box and the forward took a touch before firing just over the bar.
Vineeth then had a big chance to score when the hour mark had gone. A cut-back from Raphael from the left fell nicely to the Kerala striker in the box but the Colombo keeper managed to parry his shot.
The goal finally came in the 68th minute, courtesy a clipped ball into the box by left-back
Tondonba Singh. The ball ricocheted off a Colombo defender and fell for Jeje Lalpekhlua, whose left-footed strike hit the back of the net.
This was the second leg match. The first leg match in Colombo on March 6 had ended in a goalless draw.