The Chennaiyin FC Under-18s came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Raman Vijayan Soccer School (RVSS) in their AIFF Under-18 Youth League 2018-19 opener at the SSN College Ground here today. A last-gasp equalizer from 15-year-old J. Jaya Ruban in the sixth minute of stoppage time earned CFC a point against 10-men RVSS after Aman Chetri had pulled one back from the spot.
A new look CFC U-18 outfit captained by defender Saurabh Meher took some time to gain a foothold in the opening stages. Joysana Singh and Aman Chetri looked sharp upfront for CFC, drawing fouls in dangerous areas but the RVSS goalkeeper was untroubled from the resulting set-pieces.
CFC suffered a scare on 22 minutes, when an RVSS shot almost trickled in after goalkeeper Lourdhu Divyanathan got a hand to it. However center back Mohammed Sarif Khan was on hand to clear the ball off the line. At the other end, Vijay Thangavel almost gave the hosts the lead after linking up with Joysana and Aman, with his shot going just over.
RVSS were a threat on the counter all through the first period and from one such break they won a free-kick at the edge of the area with the interval approaching. Kamalesh P stepped up for the visitors and scored with a fierce shot that went in off the crossbar. CFC tried to hit back immediately but went into the break trailing by a goal to nil.
At the start of the second period, Aman and Joysana had a couple of good chances to draw CFC level but they failed to test the RVSS keeper. The visitors then went on to double their lead through Siva Sakthi N., whose shot proved too powerful for the CFC goalkeeper.
Facing an uphill task, CFC pulled one back immediately through Aman a couple of minutes later, just before the hour mark. The forward was brought down in the box by Sriganesh P. who received his marching orders for a second bookable offence. Aman sent the RVSS keeper the wrong way to halve CFC’s deficit.
Chennaiyin continued to dominate the ten men of RVSS with efforts from Ajin Tom and Vijay being kept out by the visiting keeper. With less than ten minutes to go, Joysana had a huge chance to make it 2-2. After rounding the keeper and facing an open goal, the Manipuri forward clattered the upright with his strike.
Then in the sixth minute of stoppage time, the CFC U-18s drew level. A perfectly weighted through ball put second half substitute J. Jaya Ruban in on goal. The 15-year-old Cuddalore boy kept his cool to slot it past the RVSS goalkeeper to salvage a point for CFC in what was a hard-fought encounter.
The CFC U-18s take on Football Plus in their next outing on 23rd October at the SSN College Ground in Chennai.