Former Indian Super League champions Chennaiyin FC failed to go past Army Red and dropped points, after an intense 2-2 draw in the Durand Cup on Saturday.
The group C fixture turned on its head after a barren first 45 minutes as the Reds took the lead through Lethaolen Khongsai (54′) which was neutralised by Julius Duker, a minute before the regulation time. Chennaiyin almost had full points when Edwin Vanspaul struck in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time but they could not see through the final minute with Army Red’s Liton Shil (90+6′) dashing their hopes in a crazy final seven minutes’ action.
The first half turned out to be a battle for midfield supremacy with both teams forcing each other to play out on the wings.
Chennaiyin FC were wasteful and could not convert their chances while the Reds keeper Bhabindra was at his resolute best. In an action-packed second half, the Reds turned up the heat as well and Chennayin also kept attacking. An inch-perfect corner in the 54th found Khongsai, who slotted home with a thumping header. Stung by the reverse, Chennayin came out all guns blazing but their poor luck continued and this time, Vanspaul hit the woodwork in the 62nd minute.
Silskovic then got an open chance from a measured aerial ball, but he jumped high to head the ball straight into the keeper’s gloves. Chennayin finally got their goal just before the 90th minute with a perfectly executed corner from Thapa, who found Duker to make it one-all with his towering header.
Another corner from Thapa in the fourth minute of stoppage time was cleared out by the Reds defence only towards a lurking Vanspaul whose punch found the back of the net and put Chennaiyin in the lead.
If anyone thought the game was over, they were in for a surprise as two minutes later, Sushil floated in a corner and the ball flew over Debjit to find Liton, who tapped in like a fox in the box.