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ISL: Anirudh Thapa’s Indian feat in Chennaiyin FC’s winning start | Football News





Chennaiyin FC have always shown confidence in their Indian youngsters. And, at Tilak Maidan in Vasco on Tuesday, that confidence reaped dividends in a 2-1 winning start against Jamshedpur FC where 22-year-old Anirudh Thapa scored the first goal by an Indian player, and the fastest so far, of the Indian Super League season.
The 52nd second strike was the mastermind of Rafael Crivellaro coupled with the quick run and cross from the wings by Esmael Goncalves to Player-of-the-Match Thapa who was at the right place in the box to guide it past Jamshedpur FC keeper TP Rehenesh.
It was just the beginning of an open encounter with Owen Coyle’s Jamshedpur searching for an equaliser and his former wards in Chennaiyin looking for the second. Brazilian Crivellaro kept creating chances and finding the gaps for Csaba Lzaslo’s Chennaiyin, whose defenders kept foiling the optimistic attacks from JFC.
In the end-to-end early action, Peter Hartley missed on his first ISL goal and the equaliser in the 7th minute with a misdirected header to a perfect Jackichand cross with only CFC keeper Vishal Keith to beat.
The story repeated at the other end with, first Goncalves in the 10th and then Thapa on the 20th minute failing to take advantage of the defensive errors by JFC and the dream chances created by Crivellano.
The scoreline finally changed in the 26th minute in favour of Chennaiyin. Isaac Vanmalsawma’ soft foul on Thapa inside the box earned Lzaslo’s team a penalty and Bissau-Guinean Gonclaves made no mistake in sending Rehenesh the wrong way and putting the ball in.
While the high line of defence from JFC kept hurting the team, there was optimism in attack with Jackichand, who had the most successful assists last season, carrying his form from the last edition.
The young playmaker’s effort was finally converted by none other than last season’s Golden Boot winner Nerijus Valskis with the perfect header to an inch-perfect cross in the 37th minute.
While Chennaiyin remained the more dominant team in an attacking encounter and confidently countered whenever JFC attacked, another goal stayed elusive to them. There was, however, no way JFC could deny CFC a winning start and the full three points.