ISL 2023/24 – Chennaiyin FC Crushes Highlanders’ Playoff Dreams


In a thrilling encounter at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennaiyin FC stamped their authority, sending the Highlanders crashing out of the playoffs race with a resounding 2-1 victory in the Indian Super League 2023-24 clash on Tuesday.

Both teams entered the match with aspirations of clinching the coveted sixth spot in the standings, but it was not to be for Juan Pedro Benali’s side that failed to seize the opportunity. While NorthEast United FC initially took the lead with a goal by Jithin, it was Chennaiyin FC’s resilience that ultimately prevailed, courtesy of late strikes from defenders Ankit Mukherjee and Aakash Sangwan.

The Marina Machans showcased their peak form at the crucial juncture of the season, securing their third consecutive victory and elevating their points tally to 27 from 21 matches. Meanwhile, NorthEast United FC’s dreams of playoff glory were dashed as they remained stranded at 23 points from an equal number of matches, unable to bridge the gap even with a win in their final fixture against Odisha FC. As for East Bengal FC, with 24 points and one match remaining, they still harbor hopes of clinching the sixth spot alongside the resurgent Marina Machans.

Chennaiyin FC Stages Dramatic Comeback to Crush  Playoff Dreams Of The Highlanders
Players of Chennaiyin FC celebrating after scoring against the Highlanders

Jithin MS emerged as a pivotal figure for the Highlanders, demonstrating his attacking prowess in the crucial encounter. Teaming up effectively with teammate Parthib Gogoi, Jithin orchestrated the opening goal after a lackluster first half. As the Highlanders surged forward, Gogoi’s precise delivery found Jithin, who exhibited commendable awareness to slot the ball past the Chennaiyin FC goalkeeper in the 49th minute. Parthib’s decision to eschew long-range attempts in favor of a team-oriented approach reflected his maturity on the field, exemplified by his earlier efforts which narrowly missed the target.

Despite NorthEast United FC’s early dominance, Chennaiyin FC gradually regained momentum in the latter stages of the game. Their equalizer, courtesy of Aakash Sangwan’s fortuitous corner kick, stunned the Highlanders and reignited the Marina Machans’ hopes of securing a vital result. With the match hanging in the balance, Chennaiyin FC intensified their attacking efforts, with domestic forwards Rahim Ali and Irfan Yadwad leading the charge. The duo’s relentless pursuit of goals earned them several set-piece opportunities, as they sought to capitalize on every scoring chance.

Read More – Bengaluru FC edges past Chennaiyin FC to reignite their winning streak

In the dying moments of the game, Rahim Ali’s astute vision paved the way for Ankit Mukherjee’s decisive goal. Spotting Mukherjee in a promising position, Rahim delivered a pinpoint pass, allowing the fullback to calmly slot the ball into the bottom corner and secure all three points for the Marina Machans.

The victory marked a significant triumph for Chennaiyin FC, as they solidified their position in the race for the playoffs while extinguishing the Highlanders’ hopes dramatically. With their momentum surging, the Marina Machans now set their sights on further success in the remainder of the ISL campaign, buoyed by their resilient display against NorthEast United FC.

After an exhilarating match where every play counted, both Chennaiyin FC and NorthEast United FC now turn their attention to their upcoming fixtures, each aiming to build on their recent performances and secure valuable points in the ongoing football season.

Chennaiyin FC Stages Dramatic Comeback to Crush  Playoff Dreams Of The Highlanders
North-East United and its players after leveling the score in the game against Chennaiyin FC

For Chennaiyin FC, their next challenge awaits them on April 14th as they prepare to clash against FC Goa. Riding on the momentum of their recent victory, Chennaiyin FC will look to carry forward the winning spirit and maintain their momentum against a formidable opponent like FC Goa. With the fullbacks showcasing their versatility and impactful contributions in the previous game, the team will seek to capitalize on their strengths and execute their game plan effectively.

On the other side, NorthEast United FC will resume action on April 13th against Odisha FC. Despite facing defeat in their previous match, NorthEast United FC will be eager to bounce back and redeem themselves with a strong performance against Odisha FC.

Follow IFTWC for more updates on Indian football.

Ishayu Gupta
Ishayu Gupta
Mohun Bagan, Madrid and more!

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