AFC Cup 2019: Dhaka Abahani hand Chennaiyin FC first defeat in Asia

Dhaka Abahani got their revenge against Chennaiyin FC as they beat the Indian Super League (ISL) outfit 3-2 in a Group E game of the 2019 AFC Cup at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka on Wednesday.


Kervens Belfort (64'), Masih Saighani (69') and Mamunul Islam Mamun (88') scored for the Bangladeshi side. Goals from CK Vineeth (6') and Isaac Vanmalsawma (74') went in vain as Abahani avenged their 1-0 defeat at Ahmedabad last month.


Both sides made three changes from the previous game. Mario Lemos brought in Saad Uddin, Mamunul Islam and Jewel Rana as former Jamshedpur FC and NorthEast United man Wellington Priori was unavailable.


Thoi Singh and Mohammed Rafi were dropped to the bench while Jeje Lalpekhlua was absent from the matchday squad. Francisco Fernandes, Isaac and Vineeth were ushered in by John Gregory.



Dhaka Abahani Chennaiyin FC AFC Cup 2019


The former ISL champions posed a threat from the get-go and were rewarded with the early goal. Isaac crossed into the box following a corner kick conceded by Rayhan Hasan. Vineeth, on-loan from Kerala Blasters, turned out to be the fox in the box as the striker tapped into the bottom left corner of the net.


However, the tide turned and it was the Bangladesh champions that put pressure on Karanjit Singh, who was forced to make four saves in the first half hour. Sunday Chizoba, Jewel Rana and Sohel Rana all had their sniffs but Chennaiyin were lucky to lead by the solitary goal at half time.


Right after the change of ends, Anirudh Thapa fed Isaac who hit the bar from outside the box. The hosts were pretty dominant as they got their deserved equaliser. Following a set-piece situation, it was Saighani that found Belfort inside the box. The Haitian was quick to cancel his former Kerala Blasters' teammate's opener.



Eli Sabia Mohammad Nabib Dhaka Abahani Chennaiyin FC AFC Cup 2019


Four minutes after conceding, Chennaiyin had defender Eli Sabia to blame for conceding a cheap foul. The ensuing free kick was converted by former Aizawl man Saighani who left Karanjit with no chance with his left-footed pile-driver into the top left corner of the net.


The scores were level again courtesy Isaac who calmly put the ball into the net after second-half substitute Thoi got into the box and laid the ball for the Mizoram-born to beat Sahidul Alam in goal.


Isaac could have doubled his tally the very next minute but Sahidul got the better of him. At the other end, Karanjit did keep Belfort's effort off in the 83rd minute but late into the game, Mamunul got the winner for the Dhaka side.


The midfielder drove a volleyed effort in to hand his side the three points. Both sides remain tied on 7 points each after four rounds but Chennaiyin lead the group in lieu of a better total goal difference.