Chennaiyin FC showed remarkable transformation under new coach Sabir Pasha but had to settle for an exciting 2-2 draw against Odisha in match 93 of the Indian Super League (ISL) match at the Tilak Maidan Stadium on Wednesday.
The draw has effectively wiped out the chances of both teams for a place in the playoffs. Chennaiyin started with a flourish, scoring in the second minute, only to concede the lead but finished strongly to snatch a draw. However, Chennaiyin’s frailties in defence were exposed by the Spanish duo of Jonathas Cristian and Javi Hernandez in the match.
Chennaiyin played fluently in the first 15 minutes before Odisha clawed back into the match through a screamer from Javi Hernandez in the 18th minute.
The Spaniard exchanged passes with countryman Jonathas before unleashing a curling left-footer from outside the box to equalise for Odisha. The equaliser saw Odisha exerting itself more and earned a couple of chances which went begging in the first half.
Odisha continued its high pressing game in the second half to rock the fragile Chennaiyin defence. Debjit Majumder denied Jonathas in the 49th minute. However, Jonathas made amends for his earlier lapse by banging the ball into the net from close off a goalmouth melee in the 51st minute. The overlapping Issac Vanmalsawma crossed to the left where Jonathas header was saved by the goalkeeper Debjit.
But Hector Rodas couldn’t latch on to the rebound which came to Javi whose shot was again parried by the goalkeeper and the loose ball came to unmarked Jonathas who scored.
Chennaiyin fought back and Nerijus Valskis, without a goal in 11 matches, headed in the equaliser off a cross from Rahim Ali. However, Valskis missed a sitter when he shot out from close in the 73rd minute after getting a gift in the form of a poor collection from goalkeeper Arshdeep Singh.