Hero Super Cup 2023 | Rahim hits brace as Chennaiyin beat NorthEast United 4-2
Striker Rahim Ali struck a brace as Chennaiyin FC kickstarted their Hero Super Cup 2023 with a 4-2 victory over NorthEast United FC in their opening Group D match in Kerala on Tuesday. He not only opened the scoring for Chennaiyin in the 17th minute but also provided a perfect finishing touch.
Edwin Sydney Vanspaul (33rd) and Julius Duker (49th) scored the two other goals for the Marina Machans. Rochharzela (42nd) and Laldanmawia Ralte (90+3) scored for the losing side.
“We gained three points today which is the most important thing in the tournament and our approach is another important thing—how we implemented our match plan. We have different kinds of approaches and this was one of our opportunities to score we tried our best. I’m happy that we scored four goals,” Chennaiyin head coach Thomas Brdaric told the media after the match.
“Rahim is the guy who I feel has improved pretty well. We are pursuing our targets with him. Now, the next opponent is Churchill Brothers. They conceded a defeat against Mumbai [City FC] in their last game. For them, it’s the last chance to bounce back in the tournament and we need to be careful.”
Chennaiyin made an aggressive start and looked more confident among the two. The team, led by Anirudh Thapa, could have been 1-0 up inside the first 10 minutes had they been given a penalty when the opposition defender was seen handling the ball inside the box.
However, Brdaric’s men didn’t have to wait too long as Rahim guided Vafa Hakhamaneshi’s inch-perfect cross to the top left corner with an exquisite header. Edwin doubled the lead for Chennaiyin after he volleyed home from Aakash Sangwan’s header from outside the box.
NorthEast United struggled to find the ball with Chennaiyin going all guns blazing. However, a moment of joy came for them three minutes before halftime when Rochharzela handed the Highlanders their first goal of the match from a rebound after a brilliant close-range save by goalkeeper Samik Mitra.
Chennaiyin extended their dominance in the second half as it took them just four minutes after the break to make it 3-1. A spectacular left-footed corner by Sangwan found Duker in the perfect position, who made no mistake in finding the back of the net. It was Sangwan’s second assist of the match.
Later, Rahim added one more goal to his name to take the match further away from the opposition’s reach. Ralte scored NorthEast United’s second goal but it wasn’t enough with only a couple of minutes left in the game. After the winning start, Marina Machans will next lock horns against Churchill Brothers in their second Group D match on Saturday at the same venue.