Chennaiyin FC's Vladimir Koman had a memorable debut for the side, as his lone goal on Tuesday helped the team win a narrow contest against Hyderabad FC, at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa. The new signing converted a penalty in the 66th minute that was earned by skipper Anirudh Thapa.
Chennaiyin FC made a winning start to their Hero Indian Super League (ISL) campaign as they eked out a 1-0 win over Hyderabad FC at the Athletic Stadium in Bambolim, Goa on Tuesday. New signing Vlaldimir Koman scored on his debut in the 66th minute as he converted the spot-kick that was earned by captain Anirudh Thapa who was fouled inside the area by Hitesh Sharma.
The game was pretty much a tale of two halves with Hyderabad FC dominating the first half and Chenaiyin FC emerging as a force in the second and making the most of their opportunity.
The Nizams’ new signing Edu Garcia got the first shot on target in the 8th minute when Hyderabad FC created an opening with a neat move from the left-hand side but his effort was straight at goalkeeper Vishal Kaith.
The Spaniard worked the goalkeeper again eleven minutes later when Kaith had to scamper to his right to save a brilliant free-kick from Garcia after the goalkeeper had fouled Bartholomew Ogbeche just outside the box.
Ogbeche then came close in the 28th minute after combining well with Yasir Mohammed but his shot from a tight angle hit the woodwork. The Nigerian squandered another chance to give his team the lead when he failed to keep a header from a perfect Garcia cross on target two minutes later.
In the 38th minute, Hyderabad FC almost scored the perfect goal when Asish Rai and Garcia combined well on the left-hand side to find Nikhil Poojary inside the box. The Indian shot after a clever turn but his effort sailed over.
Ariel Borysiuk had a late chance for Chennaiyin in the first half but he wasn’t accurate with his effort. Despite dominating possession and creating chances, the Nizams had nothing to show for it as the game was goalless.
Chennaiyin improved in the second half and was much more of a force going forward although it was Hyderabad FC who dominated the opening exchanges. Ogbeche missed another good chance by his standards in the 46th minute when a cross from the right flank reached him rather unexpectedly but the Nigerian was caught on his heels as the chance went begging.
The Marina Machans began finding bit more spaces on the counter-attack and Lallianzuala Chhangte produced a fine save from Laxmikanth Kattimani in the 58th minute when he created a space for a shot from a tight angle but did well to produce a deadly effort.
Seven minutes later Chennaiyin FC was able to force a mistake from the Nizams as Hitesh Sharma who miscontrolled a ball inside the box fouled Thapa who was able to steal it from him.
Koman stepped up to coolly convert from the spot and put Chennaiyin in front.
Hyderabad FC made a host of changes but Chennaiyin FC was resolute in defense having gone in front.
The Nizams grew more frustrated as the game progressed and Chennaiyin FC was able to close out the match for a vital win.
Hyderabad FC faces a tough game against defending champions Mumbai City FC on Saturday, while Chennaiyin FC takes on NorthEast United a day later.