Chennai: Defending champions Chennaiyin FC notched up a 2-1 win over table-toppers Bengaluru FC 2-1 for only their second victory in what has been a disastrous season in the Hero Indian Super League here on Saturday.
After taking a 2-0 lead into the lemon break, Chennaiyin held on tenaciously despite a strong fightback from Bengaluru FC to snap their five match losing streak.
Bengaluru FC, last year's runner-up to Chennaiyin, remains on 31 points after 15 matches and will have to wait to seal a playoff berth.
#CHEBEN proved to be an end-to-end affair where the current league leaders, @bengalurufc fell to a 1-2 defeat in the hands of defending champions, @ChennaiyinFC.— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 9, 2019
More videos: https://t.co/mrtZlxvu6i#LetsFootball #FanBannaPadega #HeroISL #ISLRecap pic.twitter.com/KLU8sR2t5G
Chennaiyin, on the other hand, took its tally to eight points from 15 games but remains at the bottom of the table.
In the first half, Chennaiyin appeared to recapture some of its old form as they found the back of the net twice in the space of 10 minutes to leave the crowd in raptures.
The home team started positively and attacked from the word go. Bengaluru FC grew into the game and were starting to threaten the Chennaiyin FC backline.
In the 32nd minute, Nishu Kumar was not effective in the backline and his sloppy touch fell into the path of Jeje Lalpekhlua, who shot home, to score his first goal in ISL in almost a year.
Returns to the @ChennaiyinFC starting XI 💪
Wears the captain's armband ©
Scores his first goal of the season 🥅
Just @jejefanai things! 😎#HeroISL #LetsFootball #CHEBEN #FanBannaPadega pic.twitter.com/KL2pAnYFd9— Indian Super League (@IndSuperLeague) February 9, 2019
Chennaiyin FC did not stop there and kept attacking and two minutes before the half-time, Gregory Nelson doubled the lead when he headed Laldinliana Renthlei's cross into the BFC net.
Bengaluru FC reduced the lead in the 57th minute when star striker Sunil Chhetri found the back of the net. A cross by Xisco Hernandez was headed in by Chhetri even as the Chennaiyin defence faltered.
In the 69th minute, Miku fired one in from outside the box on the right, but could not beat Chennaiyin goalie Karanjit Singh.
Hernandez's attempt to score a probable equaliser in the stoppage time was thwarted by an alert Karanjit as the visitors went all out to level the match....