Guwahati, Aug 14 (PTI): Chennaiyin FC became the first team to qualify for the knockouts of the 132nd Durand Cup when they beat Nepal’s Tribhuvan Army FC 3-0 in a Group E fixture here on Monday.
The match was played here at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium.
Farukh Chaoudhary (22nd minute) opened the scoring for Chennaiyin while Rahim Ali doubled their lead through a penalty in the 40th minute. Rafael Crivellaro completed the comfortable win for ISL franchise Chennaiyin with his 84th minute strike.
Chennaiyin FC have six points from two matches and took the top spot and sealed a quarterfinal berth.
Their head coach Owen Coyle fielded an unchanged starting line-up that had beaten Hyderabad FC while Tribhuvan Army FC’s KC Megh Raj made one change to the XI that started in their previous match with Basant Jimba coming in for Suroj Basnet.
Chennaiyin FC pressed hard from the start, giving no time for the Nepal side to settle and as a result dominated the possession. They could have scored inside the first 10 minutes with Connor Shields setting up Farukh Choudhary but the latter’s effort went above the crossbar.
Connor Shields missed a chance from the very next move. Wing-backs Aakash Sangwan and K Ajith Kumar were playing high up the field and swinging in good quality crosses.
The Marina Machans broke the deadlock from a good combination move by Connor Shields and Farukh Choudhary. Farukh converted the cut back from Shields past Nepal goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu.
Chennai continued to keep possession and attack the Tribhuvan box continuously. Jordan Murray was fouled inside the penalty area by midfielder Sudil Rai, and Rahim Ali made it 2-0 for Chennaiyin from the resultant penalty.
The best chance in the half for Tribhuvan Army came late into the half as Basant Jimba caught goalkeeper Debjit Majumder out of position, but his chipped attempt went wide.
Chennaiyin continued to play in the same way as Coyle brought in the changes to freshen up the line-up.
Their high pressing game forced Tribhuvan to commit mistakes as the Machans looked to increase the score line.
The best chance of the half came for the Nepal side as their captain Nawayug Shrestha forced Debajit to effect an impressive save.
The Nepal outfit did a good job by not conceding in the second half but their resilience was broken when Brazilian Rafael Crivellaro applied the finishing touches to score Chennaiyin’s third goal.